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‘THE BRIDGE’: Excelling in the Dairy-Free Category
The Bridge SRL is a manufacturer of dairy alternatives including drinks, creams and desserts. The company, which has been operating since 1994, continues to serve the growing non-dairy market with their broad product range.
The global surge in the consumption of dairy alternatives has been clearly apparent, indicating that consumers are moving away from traditional milk sources and dairy products and instead opting for plant-based alternatives. A broad spectrum of alternative products are now being purchased as part of mainstream shopping habits and, according to Mintel, one in five households in the UK purchases dairy-free milk or drinks.
Marketing and Sales Manager at The Bridge, Eva Pfeffer, commented, “We have seen enormous growth in the last five years and predict an ongoing growth for the upcoming years.”
In the UK alone, there has been a 155% increase in sales for cow-milk alternatives between 2011 and 2014, with volume of sales soaring from 36 million litres to 92 million. This is in stark contrast to sales of milk and cream which have seen an insignificant three percent growth. Similarly, consumption of cow’s milk in the USA fell by a massive 10.2% between 2010 and 2014.
In 2016, consumers are spoilt for choice with an extensive range of dairy and non-dairy milks which are continuously expanding. There has been a paradigm shift. Historically, only plain full-fat milk was available to consumers, followed by a greater variety, for example, of semi-skimmed and skimmed milk. It is only more recently that a new category was developed when dairy-free, and soya milk was launched, targeting vegans and those who are lactose intolerant.
One of the drivers of this trend is consumers’ health perceptions around dairy and non-dairy, coupled with the mistrust of the dairy industry. This is in addition to increased marketing activities, and media awareness, as well as improved availability of dairy alternative products.
Another reason for the drastic growth is new product innovation within the category. Product development within this category has been strong and this is set to continue. Mintel predicts the alternative dairy category is one to watch in 2016, in particular soya and rice milk.
The Bridge is a particularly innovative company which has developed exciting new product ranges within the dairy-free sector. These include a wide variety of drink, desserts and cream products from alternatives like soya, oat, rice and almond, as well as newer and even more innovative products including quinoa, saraceno, farro and kamut and various flavours such as vanilla and cocoa.
The Bridge are continuously expanding their product range. Eva informed KLBD “We are currently launching 3 new products.” As can be expected these fill a gap in the market. “We have two new almond drinks with a percentage of 3 %, using roasted almonds, so the products have a great taste for a lower price and a gluten-free oat drink, using a sort of oat that does not contain gluten naturally.”
Dairy-free has always been, and continues to be, a popular category for Jewish people, due to the Jewish dietary laws which necessitate kosher consumers to actively seek dairy-free alternatives. The Bridge identified this market opportunity and acquired KLBD kosher certification in 2013.
Eva explained to KLBD that their kosher certificate “has been very important,” both for those following a kosher diet and those who don’t. She noted, “An increasing number of people who don’t follow a Kosher diet, choose Kosher certified products considering them high quality products.”
The Bridge’s main markets include France, Italy, Hungary and Spain and are currently exporting their products to over 40 countries worldwide.