The rise of plant based milks

It’s World Plant Milk Day today. As a dairy free diner for a number of years now, it is truly amazing to see the rise in availability and variety of non-dairy milks. It’s demand and supply in action. My old economics teacher used baked beans and beer as his examples for this concept in class; I wonder if he would ever have gone for almond and oat milk?

Most supermarkets now sell a variety of options – fresh and long life, nut-based or nut-free, own brand or branded, organic or economy. When I first went dairy free 8 years ago, soya milk was about the only option available and still a bit quirky. Now, dairy free has gone mainstream – even my in-laws have almond milk on their porridge in preference to dairy milk.

Predicted to be worth a whopping $16 billion by next year, (  I guess  the options will continue to grow as more people look to alternatives for health, ethical or environmental reasons.

And variety is good. I like to use different types of plant milks rather than sticking to one. Some just work better in certain recipes than others, but also it ensures I don’t become too reliant on one food source just in case I develop another food intolerance. And the great thing about so many options is that if you have an allergy or intolerance to one food source (nuts for example) then there are many more to chose from, like oat, rice or hemp.

Even though there’s not so much need for home made, I still like to make my own from time to time. Plant milks have a very short shelf life and so shop bought require additives to keep them fresh and viable. On top of that, they can become quite expensive, compared to home made which are quick and can be super cheap depending on what you are using.

Some home made milks need special equipment (like soya milk) or take time (like rice milk). Others are easy. Almond milk was one of my first blog posts – here is from the dim and distant past of 2012!  It’s so simple and delicious . Cashew and oat milk are also fabulously easy -blog posts about these will be out very soon.

So whatever your choice, and whatever your reason for including it in your daily diet, let’s recognise the phenomena that it has become and raise a glass to celebrate World Plant Milk Day!