Mooving beyond dairy

* 5 min read
These days consumers have a real motivation to source sustainable produce, and the dairy industry is no different in this regard.

Many consumers are now moving to plant based ‘milk’ alternatives such as almond and soy as confirmed in a recent internal survey that we conducted. 


The question is, do these plant based substitutions provide the same sustenance as their dairy counterparts? We have outlined a few varieties:

Soy milk

As the name suggests, soy milk is made wholly from soybeans, and is loaded with a variety of nutrients, and almost contains nearly as much protein as cow’s milk (7g versus 8g). Some research suggests however that drinking soy milk may interfere with your body's ability to absorb thyroid medication. 

Key takeaways:

  • A good source of vitamin A, B12, vitamin D, and potassium
  • High protein source (typically 7g per cup)
  • No cholesterol
  • Higher carb to fat ratio
  • Not an ample source of calcium
  • Is believed to be the root of some thyroid disorders

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Almond milk

Arguably one of the most popular non-dairy milk alternatives, almond milk is loaded with fibre, calcium, and vitamin E. What's good for you though might not be so good for the environment, the majority of the nuts are mostly grown in California (a region of the USA that is prone to droughts) and need millions of litres of water to be produced.

Key takeaways:

  • No cholesterol
  • Rich in potassium, magnesium and a host of other vitamins and minerals
  • High in antioxidants 
  • Higher carb to fat ratio
  • Not suitable for people with nut allergies
  • Low source of protein without fortification (typically 2g per cup) 

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Pea milk 

Yes, that’s right, pea milk. Don’t be deterred by the name though, it doesn’t taste like peas and it’s not made the same way almond milk is (by soaking in water) so has a much lower water footprint than growing almonds as well as a much smaller carbon footprint than raising dairy cows. Compared to cow’s milk it typically has the same amount of protein (about 8 grams per cup) and fewer calories.   

Key takeaways:

  • High source of protein (typically 8g per cup)
  • Low calorie intake
  • High in calcium

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Rice milk 

Rice milk contains many essential nutrients and is a great choice for people who are not able to tolerate other milk alternatives. If you're looking for a good source of protein though, this isn't the one for you. Rice milk has around 2g in every serving, which also compromises its taste when compared to other alternatives. 

Key takeaways:

  • Hypoallergenic – the least allergenic of milk alternatives
  • No saturated fat or cholesterol
  • Good source of B vitamins
  • Not suitable for diabetics
  • Low in calcium
  • Low proteins (typically 2g per cup)

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Oat milk 

Like rice milk, oat milk is generally well tolerated, making it suitable for people with food allergies and intolerances. Unlike other non-dairy challengers, oat milk boasts twice as much fibre as other alternatives, which can help lower cholesterol. Oat milk does however have a higher carbohydrate to fat ratio when compared to nut milks.

Key takeaways:

  • Good source of protein (typically 4g per cup)
  • Twice the fibre of other dairy free milks 
  • Lower in fats and calories compared to nut milks
  • Higher carb to fat ratio

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Coconut milk 

You may have been hearing mixed messages about coconut milk, partly because it does contain a high content of saturated fat, however coconut milk has been linked to a range of health benefits including immune system health and aiding healthy skin and hair. 

Key takeaways:

  • Good source of protein (typically 5g per cup)
  • Rich in fibre, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 
  • High in calories
  • High in saturated fat

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There are a great deal more varieties out there, all with their individual quirks. There is no one milk that's ideal for everyone, but hopefully this gives you a little insight in which one might suit you best.