Australians buy more dairy and meat substitutes in 2020-21

Media Release

The amount of dairy and meat substitutes purchased from Australian supermarkets and other food retailers jumped another 14 per cent in 2020-21, following a 14 per cent increase between 2018-19 and 2019-20, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

ABS health statistics spokesperson, Paul Atyeo, said “The per person apparent consumption of dairy and meat substitutes was 20 grams per day in 2020-21, up a total of 29 per cent from 15 grams per day in 2018-19.

"About 17 grams of apparent consumption per person per day came from dairy milk substitutes like soy milk or almond milk. This is equivalent to about half a metric cup per week.

“Consumption of dairy milk substitutes rose 4 grams per day between 2018-19 and 2020-21 mirroring a 4 grams per day fall in dairy milk over the same two year period.” Mr Atyeo said.

"Almond milk had a particularly rapid increase in apparent consumption, up 31 per cent in the last two years. Soy milk increased by 16 per cent over the same period."

Of other product categories which had increases, the most significant was non-alcoholic beverages which rose 7 per cent between 2018-19 and 2020-21. The increase was driven by diet soft drinks (up 21 per cent) and packaged water (up 8 per cent per person). In contrast, sugar sweetened soft drinks have remained relatively flat, although they still make up most (61%) of the soft drink volume.

More information can be found in Apparent Consumption of Selected Foodstuffs, Australia, 2020-21 available for free download from the ABS website,

Media notes

  • Dairy and meat substitutes are products made from non-animal ingredients such as soybeans and other legumes, grains, nuts and fungi that may be consumed as a substitute for dairy or meat.

  • 'Apparent consumption' in this release measures the amount of food and non-alcoholic beverages purchased (based on sales data), from the food retail sector in Australia. It does not measure actual consumption and does not account for alcoholic beverages, purchases from the café, restaurant and takeaway food sector, home grown or produced foods, wild or harvested foods, or products not consumed due to waste or storage.

  • Apparent Consumption of Selected Foodstuffs, Australia, 2020-21 is intended to provide information on trends in the food and nutritional composition of products available from the food retail sector, a major part of the overall food supply in Australia.

  • In many instances, this release makes comparisons from 2018-19 to the most recent period (2020-21). This is because apparent consumption levels in the previous reporting period (2019-20) were heavily impacted by consumer behaviour changes associated with COVID-19.

  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.

  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team via (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).

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