Plant milk has been consumed for centuries in various cultures, both as a regular drink (such as the Spanish horchata) and as a substitute for dairy milk. The most popular varieties are soy milk, almond milk, rice milk and coconut milk. The protein content varies. It contains no lactose or cholesterol, and is usually sold with added calcium and vitamins, especially B12.
There are several reasons for consuming plant milk: ethical (animal welfare) reasons, environmental reasons, health reasons, including lactose intolerance, milk allergy and PKU; veganism and ovo-vegetarianism; religious reasons, such as by some Christian denominations during Lent; and simple taste preference.
In the United States soy milk was long the most popular non-dairy milk, but starting around 2010 almond milk began to increase in popularity, and in 2013 it surpassed soy milk as the most popular variety. Other popular milks in the US are rice and coconut. In Europe soy and oat milk are popular. There is also hazelnut milk and milk from peas and lupin.
|Nutritional content of cows', soy and almond milk|
| Cows' milk|
(whole, vitamin D added)
| Soy milk|
calcium, vitamins A and D added)
| Almond milk|
|Calories (cup, 243 g)||149||80||40|
|Saturated fat (g)||4.55||0.5||0|
|Vitamin B12 (µg)||1.10||2.70||n/a|
|Vitamin A (IU)||395||503||n/a|
|Vitamin D (IU)||124||119||n/a|
- Grains: barley, oat, spelt
- Legumes: lupin, pea
- Nuts: cashew, hazelnut, walnut
- Seeds: chia seed, flaxseed, quinoa, sesame seed, sunflower seed, hemp seed
- Wong, Venessa (August 21, 2013). "Soy Milk Fades as Americans Opt for Drinkable Almonds". BusinessWeek.
- Epperly, Victoria. Daniel's Lifestyle Fasting Cook Book. Xulon Press, 2008, pp. 248–250.
- "Milk, whole, 3.25% milkfat, with added vitamin D", United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
- "Soymilk (all flavors), unsweetened, with added calcium, vitamins A and D", United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
- "Almond Breeze Original Unsweetened", almondbreeze.com.