The Weirdest and Wackiest Types of Alternative Milk
Plant milk is on track to take over 50% of the market over the next few years, and within that, oat milk is on the rise.
Have you ever wandered into your local cafe and been overwhelmed by the range of milk options available? Or perhaps you’ve been impatiently waiting for the day to come when there are more options to choose from than just soy or almond milk. Whatever your stance, the fact is that plant-based milk options are set to overtake cows’ milk in Australian cafes – so it’s time to consider ditching dairy and finding your new favourite alternative.
Looking at the statistics, it seems that oat milk will soon be the most popular option for Australian consumers. Plant milk is on track to take over 50% of the market over the next few years, and within that, oat milk is on the rise. Making up only 0.2% of the market two years ago, it has shot up to 20% of the market in 2022. This kind of exponential growth assumes that it will continue to grow at a fast-tracked rate.
The popularity of plant-based milk is soaring at the moment, and while you may think you have heard of all of the possible milk alternatives out there, the industry is constantly expanding to include weird and wacky options that we bet you haven’t even dreamt of!
We’ve compiled a list of some of the most bizarre new players in the field – we think it’s only a matter of time before they start appearing in all of your local cafes.
A great alternative for anyone with nut allergies, hemp milk is one of the new kids on the block that is quickly gaining popularity, especially in the health food sector.
Made from hemp seeds, it has a light and nutty flavour with earthy undertones and doesn’t separate when added to hot drinks.
Hemp milk is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and zinc. Hemp seeds are also rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, so naturally, hemp milk is full of these nutrients too.
And if you’re handy in the kitchen, hemp milk is also fairly easy to make at home. Here’s a simple recipe that doesn’t require too many ingredients.
Not quite featuring any specific ingredient, milk made from a plant-based blend is made from a range of plant-based ingredients to create a creamy alternative. Brands like NotCo are changing the milk game, creating ‘NotMilk’ that uses less energy and water, and produces less CO2 than dairy milk.
NotMilk is made from: Water, Sunflower Oil, Pea Protein, less than 2% of Sugar, Pineapple Juice Concentrate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Gellan Gum, Acacia Gum, Salt, Monocalcium Phosphate, Natural Flavor, Cabbage Juice Concentrate, Vitamin D2, Vitamin B12.
You can find NotCo in Woolworths supermarkets across Australia. We might start seeing plant-based blends in cafes soon due to their wider appeal and less distinguishable taste that doesn’t have the same strong notes as almond or soy milk.
A very fresh face in the alternative milk scene, microbe milk has the potential to rock both the plant-based and dairy milk worlds with this revolutionary technology.
Microbe milk is produced using precision fermentation, a process in which bacteria, yeast, or fungi are genetically manipulated into producing milk proteins that taste and perform like dairy proteins, sans cows.
Compared to some other dairy alternatives, microbe milk seems to thrive in cooking and coffee-making, very closely emulating the way that dairy acts in these scenarios.
The whole process of making microbe milk takes two weeks, and the final product is identical to the whey found in dairy milk but with a much lower environmental impact. Production of the protein emits 97% fewer greenhouse gasses and uses 99% less water than traditional milk, making it much better for the environment.
While there aren’t many brands that have jumped on this new trend yet, betterland milk is an American company producing this dairy-free, lactose-free microbe milk with the same proteins and vitamins as regular milk.
Now we know what you’re thinking, and don’t worry, pea milk will not turn all of your coffees and milkshakes green! Made from yellow split peas which are a legume, pea milk has a slightly yellow tinge but that doesn’t make it any less tasty.
While a lot of dairy-free milks are made by soaking the main ingredient, pea milk is made by blending purified pea protein with water and other ingredients such as sunflower oil and vitamins like B12. This results in a milk with similar taste, consistency, and colour to dairy milk. When it comes to looking at health benefits, pea milk has significantly more protein than other alternatives, which makes it great for those who are looking for ways to get more protein into their diet.
Pea milk is super easy to make at home, here’s a recipe from So Vegan:
- 1 cup dry yellow split peas
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 2 Medjool dates
- Add the yellow split peas to a bowl and cover with 3 cups (750ml) of water. Cover with a plate and leave to soak for 8 hours or overnight.
- Drain and rinse the yellow split peas, then add them to a pot along with 3 cups (750ml) of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on for 45mins - 1 hour or until the yellow split peas are soft.
- Drain the yellow split peas and add them to a blender along with 3.5 cups (875ml) of filtered water, the oil, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Next, remove the stones from the dates and add them to the blender. Blend for 30-60 seconds or until smooth.
- Sit a nut milk bag or a muslin cloth over a large bowl and pour the pea milk into the bag. Squeeze the bag so the pea milk comes out and the pulp remains inside (you can add the pulp to cakes!). Transfer the liquid to a bottle with an air-tight lid and place it in the fridge. The pea milk will last for up to 4 days refrigerated.
From basic soy milk to weird and wacky microbe milk, the alternative milk industry is evolving and growing to include more options than you could possibly drink in a week, making it easier than ever to find your new dairy-free favourites. As alternative milk continues to become more and more popular, we can expect to see even more options arise, and who knows, maybe one day dairy milk will completely be a thing of the past.
This article was written by one of our Social Media Co-ordinators and blog writers, Hannah Jantos.