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Vegan Guide: Milk and Dairy alternatives

vegan-milk-dairy-guide

Avoiding Alpro

Before we get into the rundown, I want to address the Alpro controversy first. Not sure what I’m talking about? Alpro, a Belgian company who make non-dairy milks sent a tweet a few days back implying that a healthy diet needs 1/3 animal based products. The tweet essentially tells us that whilst the products are vegan, the company Alpro (and the subsidiary companies Provamel and Belsoy) are not.

Alpro’s managing company, Whitewave, are scheduled to be taken over by French company Danone. Danone manufacture dairy products. Less than a week prior to the Alpro tweet that stakeholders voted unanimously for the Danone takeover, so it’s tempting to view the tweet as a sign from Alpro that they are moving away from the vegan credentials they may have once had. Once the takeover is complete, it will mean the money you spend on Alpro products goes to benefit Danone.

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WHAT I USE MILK FOR

So as a quick rundown, I use different milks for different things and in case you’re new to the non-dairy milk world I thought I’d explain my preferences to you. It’s worth saying ALL these milks can be used for ALL purposes (in drinks, cereal, cooking etc) – I’m not on a budget that allows me to have 7 kinds of milk in the fridge! Most of these are also fortified with B12 and calcium which are important nutrients for vegans to watch (woop!).

Hazelnut – my personal favourite for tea and coffee, also nice if you’re making desserts/yoghurt and so on from scratch. Quite a sweet taste.

Almond – I like almond milk for cereal and porridge. Also great for milkshakes. Kind of thin – some are massively fortified with sugar so do check! I personally hate almond milk in tea (it’s too bitter!) although the rest of my family swear by it.

Coconut – great for rice, curries and some marinades. Coconut milk is quite thin but thickens when you heat it (i.e. in a curry or sauce) and enriches all the flavours without being too overpowering and coconutty. Super versatile, although personally I wouldn’t drink a straight glass of it.

Rice – best for cooking, especially shortbread, pastries, sauces and marinades. I don’t like the pure taste of rice milk (unless it’s brown rice milk which is great in summer as a refreshing drink) although it’s fine with tea (not coffee).

Hemp – thicker than most of the others on the list, great for foaming or for something that needs a “rich” taste. Super-good in tea and coffee, on cereal and so on. Baristas also love hemp milk because it steams really well which makes it perfect for flat whites. I also love a glass of hemp milk with cookies (because I am 5).

Oat – cooking, in hot drinks, baking, on cereal, oat is a super versatile milk. Slightly thinner than hemp, although you can get thicker oat milk which reacts well with steam for foaming (for coffees and so on).

Spelt – this is being hailed as the new wonder milk for baking, as it’s got magical binding properties or something. I’ve actually yet to try spelt milk in baking but I do really like it in porridge and coffee (although not in tea).

Soya – I try to limit my soy intake, which means I avoid soya milk. You won’t see it below.

Here’s a quick look at some of my favourite brands. It goes without saying that these are all independent, non-GMO, vegan companies that align with my own ethics (as far as I’ve been able to research). Please note prices vary and don’t all reflect my local corner shop..! Also, whilst I normally pride myself on my photos, I just wanted to get this post out ASAP and so some of these are terrible and off my phone.

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(ugh these grim phone photos)

RUDE HEALTH

Rude Health started manufacturing dairy alternatives in 2013 after 7 years of creating muesli and cereal based products. I really love their hazelnut milk (as evidenced by it’s position on my cluttered desk) but they also have almond, coconut, oat, spelt, brown rice and many other kinds of milk available. Also, yes, that is a Snoopy coffee pot, and yes I do drink an entire pot every day #coffee.

Company Credentials: Rude Health (here) – Family owned London based company. They often get a bit of a “middle class, middle-aged” rep in the press, probably because of their association with Waitrose – but the products are great and they have so much variety so don’t be put off. They seem to employ majority women (here), run health and fitness events, and generally promote a healthy, holistic lifestyle. I’m quite partial to their branding and design as well. Filling my fridge with bright colours? Yes please #vegan.

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Oatly

Oatly are probably the best known of the oat milk manufacturers out there, and have been around since the early 1990s. They were one of the first brands I turned to when I went vegan a few years back. Based in Sweden, I mentioned these guys before when talking about vegan Helsinki because literally everywhere we stopped in Finland had Oatly available! Oatly Organic milk is probably my favourite of the range, although the chocolate one is delicious as well. I’ve not tried the mango flavour (which sounds incredible) or the foaming milk.

Company credentials: Oatly (here), what can I say, this is a brand that knows their target audience and has invested! Oatly underwent a rebrand a few years back and I love both their design (it just looks cool and Scandinavian, right?), and how transparent they are. Oatly were amongst the first to respond to the Alpro tweet, which is thoroughly unsurprising if you’ve been following them for a while. They are proudly pro-vegan, even stocking branded T-Shirts with vegan slogans. I like that they have a mission statement saluting their own independence on their website too – brava.

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Mylk – Rebel Kitchen

I mentioned on twitter that in my opinion that I’m not a fan of the Alpro chocolate milk and there are other versions out there. Let me tell you, this is one of the best if you’re looking for a treat! Both Ryan and I LOVE chocolate milk and when we discovered these little cartons, it was a game changer. Rebel Kitchen mylk is just so smooth and creamy – I’d advise shaking the carton thoroughly before drinking, but then you’re good to go. Rebel Kitchen use coconut milk in their products and they have a huge variety of flavours. I also really like the orange chocolate one, and the coffee flavour! They also sell coconut water (which I love, it tastes a lot fresher than other brands) and yoghurt. I’ve yet to try the yoghurt or see it stocked so please let me know if you’ve tried it!

Company Credentials: Rebel Kitchen (here) are a husband and wife team who again are very transparent in their practises. Based in London, all their products are responsibly sourced, and organic (unlike some of the others on this list, who specify what’s organic and what’s not). I particularly like that they are constantly trying to find better ways of doing things (I imagine one of the reasons they are already fully organic). Also, how cute is the branding?!

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Good – Braham & Murray

I always have some of this in stock, it’s just great and so ridiculously versatile. Good Hemp are actually the only hemp milk brand I buy, so my description of hemp milk above may well be totally skewed in favour of these guys. Hemp is crazy good for you, AND really good for the environment. The company have a huge selection of products, including hemp oils (I am ALL about speciality cooking oils yo) and flour. Their hemp milks are fortified with Omega which is typically one of the more pesky nutritional compounds for us vegans to find. I also just discovered that they have a milk variety which uses coconut cream and hemp, which I’m now desperate to try.

Company credentials: Good Hemp (here) was launched by a husband and wife team (who also make films!!!*) with their main points being the health benefits of hemp and closed-loop sustainable UK farming. They’re a UK based company who are credited as bringing hemp products to the mainstream. Hemp as a crop is also a lot better for the environment as the yield per hectare rate is incredibly high. Yay! Environment! *hugs earth* They’re also the only vegetable based milk that is entirely made within the UK which is a big deal if you’re trying to eat locally (like me).

*Let’s just go back to that film thing briefly. THEY PRODUCED NANNY MCPHEE…AND THEY OWN A HEMP COMPANY WHAT I CAN’T EVEN WHO ARE THESE MAGICAL PEOPLE

Koko

Koko stock coconut milk, yoghurt, oil and butter. I’m a big fan of their butter! Their Original + Calcium milk matches skimmed dairy milk for nutritional content, so that’s a nice fact to throw at the “PEOPLE NEED DAIRY UHHHHH” brigade. They also do a chocolate coconut milk fortified with calcium which is AMAZING in milkshakes. I’ve not tried their yoghurt, so let me know if you have. The company is also nut-free, so if you have nut problems (I feel bad for you son) then you know there’s no risk of cross-contamination here. In the UK, Koko are stocked in nearly every major supermarket so if you shop on the high street you’ve no doubt come across them before.

Company Credentials: Family owned, coconut groves located in Sri Lanka but processed and packed in the EU. Koko have been around since 1986 and I think they’re probably the best known on the market of their specific product (a bit like Oatly with oat milk). They also tweeted a response to Alpro aligning themselves with veganism.

YOGHURTS + ICE-CREAMS

coyo yoghurt

Coyo

Hands down my favourite yoghurt on the market (although I’m yet to try some of the above listings). Coyo is quite thick and similar to greek yoghurt, texture wise. I say that but I’ve not eaten dairy yoghurt in years..! I like it mashed up with muesli. Coyo have various flavours of yoghurt. Whilst the chocolate one is amazing, I have to say I’m most partial to the original. They also have a recently launched range of ice-cream – I’m yet to try it, so if you have, give a shout out in the comments!

Company Credentials: Based in Kent, manufactured in the UK and independently owned by a husband and wife team (side note: this husband and wife team thing is clearly a thing, right?). Strong nutritional ethics at the heart of this company who make sure all products are probiotic and taste good. Also – all their packaging is made from recyclable materials.

The Coconut Collaborative

We actually just got this rice pudding in to try! I hate rice pudding anyway so I don’t hold out much hope but I’ll let you know. Coconut Collaborative make yoghurts, ice-cream and other desserts. Their yoghurt is super smooth and a bit thinner and “silkier” than Coyo (above). Coconut Co yoghurt sprinkled with agave and chopped nuts is a great breakfast! They also make ridiculously good ice-cream – it’s a shame we don’t have any in at the moment for me to photograph. We’ve never had a tub of the chocolate ice-cream last more than a few nights so… they also sell frozen dessert sticks which I’m yet to try.

Company Credentials: Cute branding, but after that – little bit harder to find the full backstory on these guys. If you were vegan in the late noughties you may recall Bessant & Drury ice-cream (est 2011). After an entrepreneur bought a controlling stake, B&D rebranded in 2013 to Coconut Collaborative. That entrepreneur, Jim Averdieck, formerly created and sold the Gu dairy dessert range, but has since talked about “the overconsumption of dairy”. Perhaps a change of heart?

I think I’d classify Coconut Collaborative more as an accidentally vegan brand rather than a vegan-and-proud brand. There’s also reference to their coconut farming bringing reliable trade to farmers affected adversely by the Philippines tsunami. However, I can’t find any verifiable sources to confirm this. Their website is also pretty thin on information (although I rarely just take a brands website at face value anyway).

Almond Dream – Ice Cream

Almond Dream are part of the Dream Plant Based company who manufacture milk, ice-cream, yoghurt, sweets and cookies. Dream are based in the USA so the UK stock is limited, and I’ve only tried the Almond Dream ice-creams. They are so good though! As well as salted caramel, I’ve tried the chocolate and I’d recommend both. In terms of milk, Dream also sell rice, coconut, soy, “nut” (no nut specified), and spelt milk.

Company Credentials: US site (here) and UK site (here) are SUPER different, which is quite interesting as an exercise in comparative marketing. Either way, Dream are very much a dairy-free company rather than a vegan company. Dream have been around since the early 1970s and I found it hard to research the company background. They don’t have a parent company as far as I can see, although in the US, a quantity of the stocks are owned by Monsanto (who create genetically modified foods).

vegan dairy milkThere you go!

This is by no means an exhaustive list of my favourite milk and yoghurt brands, but I hope it’s a good starting point for you. Please get in touch if you have further information on a certain brand/company, if I’ve made any mistakes or you want to query something. Also let me know your preferences and favourite brands so I can check them out. Happy alternative hunting! As always, if you found this helpful please share or RT – sharing is caring, y’all. <3

*Shout out to my local vegan corner shop, who are super lovely and didn’t bat an eyelid when I asked if I could photograph the stock. They’ve also already pulled all their Alpro products from their shelves ❤️

yay vegan milk!

“yeah milk woo!” what a twat

 

 

 

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15 Comments

  • Reply Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's

    I never knew that there were so many kinds of milk! I really want to try hazelnut <3 Usually I go for almond milk 🙂 -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

    October 13, 2016 at 3:37 pm
  • Reply Jennie May

    I’m a big fan of Koko! I don’t buy them often but their yoghurts are pretty great too! x

    October 13, 2016 at 7:13 pm
  • Reply Han

    your making me feel bad for not liking coyo, maybe I had a dodgy one, you say its thick but my one was like eating coconut oil!

    I love coconut milk in porridge is amazing it adds sweetness to it so you dont need to add anything else (except a pinch of salt)

    Have you tried swedish glace ice cream? so so good!
    http://www.waitrose.com/shop/DisplayProductFlyout?productId=41277

    October 14, 2016 at 7:37 am
    • Reply Laila

      Yes I love the swedish glace ice cream! I don’t have it often but it’s great. With Coyo, oh no – mine have all been thick but quite fluffy. Maybe it had seperated? There’s a lot of other yoghurt out there though 🙂

      October 17, 2016 at 8:45 pm
  • Reply Kerry

    I’ve just started following your blog and this post has come at just the right time when I am considering making the change and doing a little research on veganism! I found this so incredibly helpful and I’ve also just read your post on cheese alternatives! If you fancy posting a typical weeks food diary to give me a few ideas to start on that would be amazing too!
    Kerry x

    October 14, 2016 at 11:02 am
    • Reply Laila

      Thank you Kerry! I’m planning to write a longer guide to cheese alternatives. 🙂

      October 17, 2016 at 8:48 pm
  • Reply Nadine Pinnock

    This post is so so sooo helpful! And I’m in awe that your corner shop removed Alpro from their shelves- good for them. I’ll probably be carrying this post with me on my phone for reference when I go into the health shop next :’) Not to mention sending it to my mum because she’s on a mission to try all the vegan milks *ever*. (p.s. I found your blog via Blogsocks and I’m v chuffed because it is deffo my cup of tea!)

    October 15, 2016 at 9:27 am
    • Reply Laila

      Yay! Welcome 🙂 xx

      November 29, 2016 at 3:13 pm
  • Reply winnie

    I always wondered what Hemp milk tastes like, I might have to request it next time I’m at my local coffee shop – i’m sure they use it too. I really like rice milk and I’m definitely going to try Hazelnut at some point!

    October 16, 2016 at 9:01 pm
    • Reply Laila

      I am such a fan of hemp milk! x

      October 17, 2016 at 8:49 pm
  • Reply denisesplanet

    I didn’t know that Alpro did that and now I agree with you, that the profits will go to Danone… not OK. I don’t drink milk, but I liked yoghurt. I said liked. Since June 1st I don’t have any yoghurt. I need to find a vegan one. That’s so good that you show alternatives, I really need some! Hope you have a very nice week!
    DenisesPlanet.com

    October 17, 2016 at 4:22 pm
  • Reply Bas

    THANKSSSSSS for this post ❤️❤️❤️

    October 19, 2016 at 9:07 pm
  • Reply A Guide to best Vegan Cheese - TAPEPARADE

    […] Vegusto / Mouse’s Favourite / My guide to Vegan Milk (plus yoghurt and ice-cream!) […]

    January 25, 2017 at 5:06 pm
  • Reply A Guide to the best Vegan Cheese - TAPEPARADE

    […] Vegusto / Mouse’s Favourite / My guide to Vegan Milk (plus yoghurt and ice-cream!) […]

    January 25, 2017 at 5:07 pm
  • Reply Spokhette

    I contemplated going vegan, but I was never a fan of regular dairy milk, let alone the vegan options. I have a treenut allergy and a coconut allergy, which prevents me from doing most of the Healthier options, especially when it comes to hair products and food. Le sigh, I may attempt some of the Rice or Oat milk. Loved the post very informative!

    ~Www.Spokhette.com~

    January 31, 2017 at 10:22 am
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