World Plant Milk Day was just a few weeks ago, and if you’re thinking “Wait… that’s a thing?”, you’re not alone.
But, as it turns out, plant milk is one of the fastest growing dairy alternatives – the plant milk category has increased by 58% in Australia in the last two years – and there is waaaaay more on the market than there was even five years ago.
The reasons one in six Australians have switched to a dairy-free diet are as varied as the different plant milk options themselves. Lactose intolerance isn’t the only health concern people list as their reason for making the switch – according to scientific studies, eating a plant-based, wholefood-focused diet can help prevent hypertension, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even, allegedly, some types of cancer.
For the environmentally conscious, plant milk provides a cruelty-free, low impact alternative to traditional dairy milks. It doesn’t contribute to unsustainable agriculture, which the UN recently listed as one of the major causes of emissions contributing to global warming, making it a popular choice for people hoping to reduce their footprint and do what they can do prevent environmental degradation. It’s also a popular solution for those concerned about the mistreatment of cows in the mainstream dairy industry.
But how can you decide which plant milk is the one for you?
“The good news is if you’re looking to make a change from dairy there are so many options for you to consider and you don’t have to sacrifice on taste,” says Gemma Goorjian, marketing manager for major plant milk manufacturer, Califia Farms Australia. “From almond, oat and coconut, to soy, pea, hemp and cashew, there really is a plant milk to suit all tastes and needs.”
You may find that you prefer different plant milks for different things – check out our recommendations for ways you can swap plant milk into your daily routine.
Oat milk is perfect for your takeaway coffee
Califia Farms’ new Oat Barista Blend had incredible success in the US, and it’s just landed in Australia. It’s thick, creamy and has a very similar mouth feel to dairy, meaning fans of cow’s milk will probably find oat milk to be the closest substitute. Oat milk won’t overpower the taste of your coffee, but rather allows it to shine – and, thanks to the fibre, protein and good fats found naturally in rolled oats, it will leave you feeling satisfied and full, too. All Califia Farms Oat Milk is completely unsweetened with no added sugar, free of gums, and has a creamy mouth feel that’s similar to the dairy experience.
“The biggest difference when adding oat milk to your coffee versus almond and soy is that oat milk is quite a mild, neutral flavour which compliments the coffee,” says Gemma. “When you have a soy or almond latte, on the other hand, you can taste the flavour of these alternative milks.”
Almond milk takes iced coffee and chocolate milk to the next level
While recent dairy-milk convers may not like the nutty taste of almond milk in their regular latte, it works perfectly in iced coffee and even as a chocolate milk substitute. For the kids, try Califia Farms Chocolate Coconut Almond Blend, or pick up one of their almond milk Cold Brew Coffees for yourself – they’re dairy free, low sugar and totally delicious. Bonus: almond milk goes great in oats and cereal! If unsweetened almond milk is too daunting, you can always try an unsweetened vanilla almond milk that has a hint of real vanilla for natural sweetness.
Soy milk in your pancakes?
You probably know soy milk as the longest standing plant milk alternative available at your local coffee shop, but this popular dairy substitute is incredible versatile. Not only does it taste great in a hot or iced coffee, but soy milk is a great ingredient to have on hand in the kitchen – particularly if pancakes are on the breakfast menu. It’s also a popular substitute in baked goods like banana bread and cakes, and even in curries and quiches if you’re feeling something savoury.
Other plant milks worth trying include coconut, cashew, pea, hemp, rice and even peanut milk! Check out Califia Farms range on their website, or head to your local Woolies or Coles to browse the plant milks on offer.