From the points we've already highlighted, it is clear that the market for plant-based dairy products will grow rapidly.
It is fair to assume that plant-based meat alternatives will go through a similar growth path as it becomes increasingly normal for people to consume these products without inviting comments. Issues around climate change, sustainability, food miles and much else will drive acceptance of milk and meat alternatives. It is now a question of how long it will take and what scale of investment across the retail grocery sector will be needed to manage these changes.
That said, it will not be plain sailing for everyone.
This rapid growth of plant-based milk is already raising many ecological issues that will likely grow over time. Almond milk, for example, is proving hugely popular. Still, its main ingredient uses a great deal of water in its growing cycle in regions, especially in California, already subject to ongoing issues with their water supply.
There will be issues over land use, as crops grown for normal food compete with crops grown to feed animals for dairy and meat alternatives. Water use in all this will be a significant challenge, especially as climate change starts to impact land use.
This also brings into play issues around crop yields and the use of genetically modified plants in production.
Other uses of plant-based products are emerging, too, as they feature in medical products and food supplements, which will further change the market.
In all likelihood, the market will become extremely complex. Currently, companies only promote dairy milk, albeit in low-fat, semi-skimmed, and full-fat variants, for example. With plant-based dairy alternatives, the market will become much more complex as producers promote the virtues of almond milk over rice milk, or coconut milk, or the next 'big thing,' for example. Some producers will use GM crops, and others will promote products that do not. This is before we get into value, standard, and premium product positioning.
Other challenges will emerge. 'Lab-grown meat' will likely emerge as a viable business in the next few years, again offering alternatives to traditional meat and plant-based alternatives.