Let’s celebrate plant-based milk on World Milk Day 2023. Consumers around the globe are increasingly swapping cow’s milk for soy, oat, and almond, representing the most popular dairy alternatives until now. But businesses are committed to creating innovative products. Different grains, seeds, and and vegetable sources concoct nutritious, tasty, sustainable, and cruelty-free alternatives.
There is plenty of room for innovation. The plant-based milk segment dominates the plant-based category. Annually in the United States alone, it generates over $ 3 billion in revenue. In the EU, the plant-based milk market is €700 million larger than that of plant-based burger patties, sausages, and lunch meats, according to Statista.
Soymilk is a popular alternative to dairy milk, seen as the global leader in non–dairy options. Due to its similar nutrient content to cow’s milk and versatility, soy milk is among the most popular milk alternatives.
Furthermore, it is widely used to produce foods such as tofu, yuba, soy yogurt, soy ice cream, soy cheese, and fermented soymilk. Consequently, it remains an extremely important product in traditional Eastern Asian cuisine.
Oat milk is the preferred alt milk in Germany, Sweden, and the UK, according to Statista. Oat milk provides healthy fats, protein, and fiber and is low-sugar. Oatly is the market leader, and continues to launch oat-based innovations globally on a regular basis. Recently, in the UK, two UK brands — MIGHTY and Overherd — announced new oat milk powders to make oat milk even better for the environment.
Oat milk is becoming an attractive option even in countries like India, where Oatmax opened the country’s first oat milk facility to offer oat alternatives in plain, vanilla, and chocolate flavors. Over in Brazil, a big soy producer will see a new oat drink made by Brazil’s Future Farm, also known as Fazendo Futuro.
Almond milk is popular for its nutritional and culinary benefits. It is a great alternative to cow‘s milk, offering a creamy texture and healthy unsaturated fats. This alternative is US consumers’ first option and second favorite in some European countries. Top-selling dairy-free brand Silk says that 73% of consumers curious about plant-based foods start by buying almond milk. The company recently launched a new almond milk featuring three varieties of almonds.
In macadamia nut milks, milkadamia is perhaps the most prominent, having been established since 2015 and offering several products in its segment including creamers and butters. Brands also producing milks from macadamia nuts include PlantBaby of Hawaii and Brooklyn’s Lechia.
Cashew milk is becoming more popular globally, attracting consumer appeal due to its low sugar and fat content.
Alpro, Silk, and UK brands Rude Health and Plenish offer a cashew milk product. Other players in cashew milk include Whitewave Foods, Blue Diamond Growers, Daiya Foods, Hain Celestial Group, Galaxy Nutritional Foods, and Vitasoy Australia.
Weird (for now…)
Chickpea, walnut, and sesame
StarPlants, a Chinese and Israeli plant-based food company, will launch chickpea milk and snacks.
Elmhurst 1925, a producer of plant-based dairy products, launched a new plant milk for coffee, Maple Walnut Barista, free from artificial flavors, carrageenan, gums, fillers, oils, and other emulsifiers.
Hope and Sesame is the ‘world’s first’ plant milk brand to earn Upcycled Food Association (UFA) certification for its organic sesame milk. Made from the byproducts of sesame seed oil production, Hope and Sesame’s milk provides 8 grams of complete plant-based protein and is an excellent source of Vitamin D and calcium.
Hemp is a small but fast-growing segment of the plant protein market. Companies are launching plant-based burgers, sausages, ice cream, and more made with hemp ingredients. Recently, US plant milk brand JOI launched a hemp milk concentrate made from organic hemp hearts without added sugars, gums, or fillers. And in the UK, Gaia’s Farming Co. offers a delicious range of hemp-based milks and butters.
Upcycled Apricot Kernels
Last year, Swedish company DUG launched a range of potato alt milk — Original, Barista, and Unsweetened. DUG’s vegan milk combines potatoes, rapeseed oil, and additives such as chicory fiber and pea proteins. DUG claims its potato milk is the most sustainable alternative: two times more land efficient than oats, with 98% less water use than almonds, and a climate footprint two-thirds lower than cow’s milk.
“Additionally, potatoes have the advantage of offering a very subtle neutral taste, are a great source of vitamins and minerals, and benefit from being free from the most common allergens, which makes it ideal for those with allergies or intolerances. What more could we ask from a humble tuber? Fredrik Carling, CEO of DUG, said in an interview with vegconomist.