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Plant based and non-dairy milks

Plant-based, non-dairy milks are among the newest popular coffee additions. That means anyone who doesn’t take their coffee black can now choose a non-dairy alternative to milk. And coffee drinkers have certainly been taking advantage of these alternatives.

In 2020, the market size value for non-dairy milks in general was approximately 17 billion Euro. This is expected to expand to over 35 billion by 2025, showing the non-dairy milk trend is here to stay. Trends for the non-dairy milk market translate to the coffee industry, with large and local coffee shops offering various plant-based milk options. Among the non-dairy milks to rise in coffee shop trends are:

· Almond

· Soy

· Oat

· Coconut

· Hemp

· Macadamia nut

Lactose intolerance and veganism have received much attention recently via social media, and customers’ desire for non-dairy options have become more prominent. Providing an alternative to cow’s milk allows those with dietary restrictions, such as individuals with lactose intolerance or allergies and those who don’t consume animal byproducts, to add more flavour to their coffee.

Some non-dairy milks are more flavourful than regular milk or cream. They can come sweetened and flavoured, providing new options for coffee creamers and syrups. Coffee shops should consider expanding their offerings to include dairy alternatives to take advantage of this trend.

If fortified, oat milk may contain similar levels of nutrients to cow’s milk (such as calcium and vitamin D), but usually has lower levels of iodine and lower quality protein. Fortification is the process by which vitamins and minerals are intentionally added to a product in quantities that were not otherwise present.

Though from a nutritionist’s perspective, unless you have an allergy, intolerance or sensitivity to dairy, cow’s milk is usually a healthier option than oat milk as it naturally contains significantly higher amounts of protein and nutrients and is less processed, contrary to popular belief.

Soya milk and nut milks such as almond or cashew milk tend to be considerably higher in protein than oat milk. The same rules apply here - avoid emulsifiers, oils, gums, stabilisers and thickeners, and look for simple ingredients such as almonds, water and sea salt.

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