Flavoured milk is to be one of the key growth areas in future drinks markets, according to market analysts.

Matt Wilton, Commercial Consulting Director, with Zenith International said the flavoured milk category in 2014 saw a 5.8% growth worldwide.

He said that key macro trends with consumers are: health and well being, which is relevant to a number of age categories; and ageing population looking for more functionally-based beverages; lifestyle (energy drinks) drinks; convenience; natural and organic produce; lower calories and less sugar.

Liquid dairy, he said, is dominated by plain white milk – accounting for 93-94% of volumes and there are ‘no huge trends or innovation in this, but there are in flavoured milk’.

He said that long life milk with flavours, has seen good, consistent growth (5.4-5.8%) over past three or four years. “It drives innovation into the category and it gives the potential for more innovation and creativity, especially in the children’s category.”

He also said that the key growth regions are Asia, Africa and Central and South America, while milk consumption is declining in North America.

“Global beverages remain buoyant and we believe that flavoured milk will continue to grow its market share to around 7% of liquid dairy by 2018. Asia and Africia are the key opportunity areas.

“Liquid dairy and soft drinks are high innovation segments. They are areas where manufacturers continually need to seek out innovative solutions to create a point of difference.”

Examples he pointed to of trends developing include a lot of innovation around functionality – where drinks have bone and gut health fortification, while coffees are fortified with probiotics and dairy drinks have seen protein added.