Alpro is now the second-largest brand in the UK milk category on the back of a 29.1% - or £21.5m - jump in value sales ­during the past year.

The dairy alternative overtook Müller Wiseman’s Black & White in value terms, with sales hitting £95.6m [Nielsen 52 w/e 10 October 2015]. This followed an £16.4m sales rise last year, leaving Alpro second only to Arla’s Cravendale, which reported sales of £144.5m, down 4.8% on last year.

Volume sales of Alpro also increased by 29% to 69.9 million litres, but the brand is still behind Black & White and Cravendale on volumes.

In a turbulent year for dairy, sales of branded milk fell by 2.7% - or £22.6m - to £818.8m, as the supermarket price war took its toll. Own-label milk suffered a 7% drop in value, to £142.6m, leaving the total milk category £165m worse off.

By contrast, dairy alternatives are booming - with value sales up 16.7% to £137.6m [Kantar 52 w/e 13 September] -and Alpro has managed to cement its position at the front of the pack.

Alpro marketing controller Vicky Upton said the brand had “come of age” over the past year.

“The consumer shift that we have seen this year is towards wellness and plant-based eating,” she added.

Despite the brand’s dominant position in the milk category, she insisted it was “incremental to dairy, not a competitor” and hinted Alpro would be looking to continue innovating into 2016.