Milk consumption in Canada has fallen by nearly 20% in the last 20 years.
Why? Some people simply don’t like the taste of cow’s milk. Others may suffer from lactose and/or bovine protein intolerance, or, for environmental reasons, prefer alternatives to the choices offered by the dairy industry. And still others, like vegans, replace all animal-based products (including milk, eggs and honey) with plant-based products.
Whatever the reason, the widespread availability of soy, almond and other types of milk substitutes means consumers have plenty of options to choose from.
Several new non-dairy beverages have appeared on supermarket shelves in recent years, including soy, rice, almond, flax and hemp milk beverages. It’s important, however, for consumers who choose these alternatives to understand exactly what it is they are drinking.
Benefits of plant-based milks
Plant-based milks make interesting options for a number of reasons. Among other things, they are easy to digest and are suitable for people with lactose or gluten intolerance. They are also rich in minerals and vitamins. What’s more, they provide a source of healthy fat (as opposed to cow’s milk, which is rather rich in saturated fat).
Soy milk was the first cow’s milk alternative to appear on grocery shelves and can now be found virtually everywhere. The most popular of the plant-based milks, its neutral taste easily replaces cow’s milk in recipes, making it a great choice for both sweet and savory dishes. Soy milk is similar to cow’s milk: it is rich in proteins and it contains all the essential amino acids. What’s more, it’s free of saturated fat. Although soy milk does not naturally contain calcium, calcium-fortified options are available. Soy milk can sometimes be difficult to digest, however, and is therefore not recommended for babies and young children.
Almond milk is quite fragrant and has a stronger taste than cow’s milk. It is often used to enhance drinks as well as both sweet and savory recipes. It is nutritious, high in energy and a
good source of calcium, magnesium, potassium and manganese, as well as vitamins A, B and E. It is very easy to digest and a good intestinal antiseptic. It is also gluten-, lactose- and cholesterol-free.
Even more options to choose from!
The growing popularity of plant-based milks means there’s an ever-growing selection of milk alternatives to choose from, each with its own distinct flavour and characteristics: rice, coconut, oat, hemp, flax quinoa, hazelnut, etc. With all these options to choose from, there’s definitely a milk alternative for every taste! Which one is your favourite?