Unpacking Popular Plant-based Milk

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By John Jose

Plant-based milk has been around in the market for a long time, being formerly relegated to specialty grocery stores and health food stores as an alternative to dairy milk and for especially those with strict dietary concerns. 
However, now the steady growth of alternative milk in quantity and popularity in the market has served as a solution for consumers who are adopting a cleaner, healthier lifestyle such as veganism, and desire to lower their impact on the environment. 
Data gathered by Transparency Market Research shows that the dairy alternative market in APAC is anticipated to reach a value of US$19.8 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 10.7 percent. 
This data supports one of the major themes and trends we discovered in our newly released Trendipedia report on global consumer trends. We found that people are using the way they eat and drink to bring a feeling of control to their lives, enabling them to improve their physical health and mental well-being. 
As such, it is no surprise that many consumers are turning to plant-based milk beverages as they carry a wide range of healthy and nutritional benefits to include in their diet. 

The benefits of milk substitutes

When choosing between milk substitutes, the best rule of thumb is to choose one that suits your lifestyle, preferences, and nutritional goals. 
While there are many similarities between oat, soy, and almond milk, the nutritional profile of each is quite different. For example, did you know that soy milk provides a good source of protein and contains all the essential amino acids?
This makes it a great option for those who follow a vegan diet or are lactose intolerant. 
Soy milk is also a lactose-free, flavourful beverage manufactured from soybeans.
It’s abundant in calcium and potassium and contains vitamins A, B-12, and D nutrients.
In fact, soy milk can be used as a dairy milk alternative since it contains the same amount of protein as cow’s milk.
On the other hand, almond milk is produced from pulverized almonds and water that is lactose and dairy-free. Embodying a sweet, nutty flavor, almond milk contains a lot of calcium, and magnesium, and is high in Vitamin E which is important for your immune system and blood vessels. Some studies have shown a link between high vitamin E intake and a lower risk of cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. 
Another popular plant-based milk is oat milk. This milk is considered a great source of fiber and has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health. It is mild and has a creamy flavor that makes it good to pair with cereals, hot beverages, and drinking on its own. It is an excellent dairy-free milk option for people who have nut allergies, therefore, they should not consume plant-based milk such as almond milk. 

Sustainable Alternatives

Many people are not aware of the innovative and comprehensive process that goes into producing their delicious plant-based milk which gets added to their cup of coffee, guaranteeing the quality of the final product. The growing plant-based market driven by consumer demand requires manufacturers to equip themselves with the right processing tools and technology to produce tasty, healthy plant-based beverages, in a safe and hygienic environment.  
Recognizing this need, we created a cutting-edge processing method for soy drinks. Last year, we made a breakthrough in our production methods which allows us to get the full benefits of the soybean, boost the nutrition content, improve its taste, and increase protein presence. 
Using the latest food processing technology, the result is reduced waste and more fiber and protein content in the beverage by mixing okara into the drink. Okara, known as the insoluble part of the soybean, is taken through multiple grinding processes to break it down to integrate it better with the beverage. The resulting product is versatile and high in fiber without affecting its flavor or texture. 
A report shows that plant-centric agriculture is more likely to benefit the planet and the growing population. 
Currently, about 42 percent of consumers believe it is likely that plant-based food will replace meat by 2032 to help curb environmental pressures and public health concerns.
As people search for food and beverage alternatives to improve their health and well-being and to be in control of their lifestyle choices, the plant-based drink market will continue to grow in the region.
Factors that F&B manufacturers will need to consider are taste, nutritional value, pricing, and packaging to attract consumers.
Those that can satisfy consumer needs will be able to gain from their growing trend.

About the author: John Jose is the Marketing Director of Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines. This is an opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of this publication.

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