Plant-based beverages: the cornerstone of the plant-based industry

Trend 2024 bevande vegetali

27 May 2024

The most popular plant-based category


Within the plant-based trend, plant-based beverages stand as the undisputed favourite. In 2023, they reached their pinnacle with the highest market value of €310 million, marking a 7% increase from the previous year, and boasting a total sales volume of 149 million litres (Nielsen, 2024). The driving force behind this surge is undoubtedly the escalating demand from consumers. While soy-based products maintain their dominance as the best-selling option, their volumes are experiencing a slight decline (-3.5% by volume). However, the emergence of ‘new bases’ like almond and oat are fuelling growth, steadily securing a more significant market share (Nielsen, 2024).

In recent times, there has been a noticeable surge in the consumer base for plant-based beverages. Atlante made its foray into this market nearly 25 years ago, pioneering the introduction of these products in Italy. Initially targeted towards individuals with intolerances, they were exclusively available through select channels. However, by the 2000s, our target audience expanded to encompass vegan and vegetarian consumers. The real explosion in this category, however, has occurred in recent years, primarily driven by a significant rise in the number of flexitarians in Italy, comprising approximately 23% of the population (SmartProtein, 2024). Beyond concerns for animal welfare, newer generations are increasingly motivated by the environmental ramifications of intensive farming practices, as well as health-related considerations.


Key trends: sugar-free beverages

In addition to ongoing advancements in base formulations, the most prominent trend in the plant-based beverage market in recent years has undeniably been the surge in ‘sugar-free’ options. This trend stems from a heightened awareness of the health hazards linked to excessive sugar intake. Sugar-free plant-based beverages offer a flavourful and nourishing alternative for individuals seeking to curb their sugar consumption. This market segment is experiencing notable growth, with both demand and supply steadily increasing. Remarkably, as of 2023, three out of the four top-selling plant-based beverage variants in Italy are sugar-free (Nielsen, 2024)! At Atlante, we foresaw this trend years ago, initiating various proprietary projects and broadening our Benesserange to include a diverse array of beverages across five different bases, all without added sugars.

bevande vegetali benesse atlante

The‘Barista’ formula: a consumer favourite

Another significant advancement making its mark on store shelves is the introduction of ‘barista’ plant-based beverages. Developed to ensure a creamy texture and perfect blending capabilities, this formula empowers both industry experts and consumers to craft delicious beverages that rival traditional milk-based cappuccinos. At Atlante, we are committed to staying abreast of emerging trends and meeting consumer demands. In recent months, we have dedicated our efforts to crafting a specialised line, available for both food service projects and private labels.

Plant-based and protein-rich: Atlante’s pioneering innovation

An incredibly impactful trend spanning various food categories in recent years is undoubtedly the focus on protein. In response, our Research & Development department has createdhigh-protein plant-based beverages under the Go For Fit brand, available in natural and cocoa flavours. These beverages are high in plant proteins, lactose-free, and low in salt. Crafted from 100% Italian soybeans, they boast an impressive protein content of 50g per 1-litre pack.

The Go For Fit range is available across multiple categories and is supported by multichannel marketing activities. We are online with a dedicated ecommerce platform, and with our Instagram and TikTok profiles!

GFF Bevanda di soia