Nestlé has announced the launch of a plant-based, ready-to-drink (RTD) version of its Milo cocoa beverage in Asia, along with two plant-based coffee RTDs.

The new Milo Dairy Free recipe replaces the milk in the original formula with almond and soy, but the other two core ingredients – malt and cocoa – remain the same.

The plant-based Milo drink will first be released in Malaysia in April, before being introduced in further markets. The release follows the launch of plant-based Milo powders in Australia last year.

Nestlé claims that each bottle offers 6.5g of protein and is also low in sugar, with a combination of vitamins and minerals.

Nestlé Malaysia is also releasing two other plant-based beverages alongside the Milo launch: Nescafé Dairy Free Almond Latte and Nescafé Dairy Free Oat Latte.

Both drinks are blended with Nescafé coffee, but the almond latte drink fuses almond and pea, while oat and soy are the main ingredients for the oat latte.

Nestlé claims that the release of the beverages aims to meet the rising demand for plant-based food and drink options from Asian consumers. According to figures provided by Nestlé, 40% of consumers in the region are ‘shifting to more plant-based diets’, with 11% following vegetarian and vegan diets.

Mayank Trivedi, head of the dairy strategic business unit at Nestlé, said: “Milo is an iconic brand in Malaysia and across Asia, and much-loved across generations.

“We want to provide consumers with on-trend alternatives in formats they want. That’s why we’re delighted to launch Milo Dairy Free to support people’s lifestyle choices.”