Alternative milk is not a recent trend by any means, it is, however, seeing a significant spike over this past year.
There has been heavy focus on allergies and the awareness around them over the last few years. In addition to this, a huge shift in the efforts for a sustainable future has affected the products we are consuming.
Coffee shops, cafés, hotels and restaurants really need to be embracing and enforcing the use of free-from and alternative products, the younger generations, in particular, are hot on the alternative milk trend and now expect to see these as options on any menu.
More than a quarter (27%) of 16-34s say they no longer use standard cow’s milk. The principal reasons given are related to health (37%) and environmental concerns (36%). (foodspark)
There are quite a few alternative milk options on the market now, with more entering the scene on a regular basis, all with different flavours, textures and impact on the environment. Soya and almond have been firm favourites since the beginnings of the trend, with oat milk more recently seeing a spike of popularity.
In terms of environmental impact, all of these plant-based milks (oat, almond and soy) are arguably more sustainable than cow’s milk. Each of these plant-based milks have different environmental effects; almond milk requires the most water usage, with oat milk taking up the most land and soy milk releasing the most emissions. (BBC)
However, consumers do need to be aware of any valuable nutrients they may be lacking in when choosing an alternative over cow’s milk, in addition to the enhanced pricing alternative milks tend to attract.
So how do the plant-based milks foam?
Our Sales Manager and coffee addict, Jamie Cochrane, tested out three of the branded plant-based milks – Oatly (Barista Edition), Alpro Organic Soya and Alpro Almond.
“I would say they all foam well and not too dissimilar to cow’s milk. Soya needs the least air to create good latte milk as it’s quite a thick consistency, be careful not to heat too much as it can curdle.
Almond is a little more watery so foams quite similar to cow’s milk and very sweet to taste.
Oatly Barista Edition foams pretty much the same as cow’s milk and is great for latte milk & art with higher temperature resistance.
Of course, from a taste point of view, it is a little bit more subjective and down to your own preferences.”
Always keep in mind cross-contamination when using alternative milks, use separate jugs, colour coded handles and cloths to keep risk as low as possible.
Check out the video to see how Jamie got on!