This Vegan Milk is Just Like Real Dairy

Make room for a plant-based alternative that tastes like it came from a cow.

a mother and daughter enjoying vegan milk.

(New Africa /

Got vegan milk? The amount of faux dairy products is growing and the choices seem endless. You can buy products made of soy, almond, rice, oats, and coconut, in regular or flavored varieties.

A report from The Good Food Institute shows that sales of plant-based dairy alternatives grew twice as fast in 2020 as real milk. But some people won’t make the switch because the alternatives don’t taste the same as milk, according to CNN Business. Now, a milk alternative is being launched that actually tastes like it came from a cow.

Danone which is known for its yogurt, will be  launching two new milk alternatives in North America that the company expects to fill this niche. The new vegan milks will be part of the company’s Silk and So Delicious lines and will be in grocers in early 2022.

Silk’s Next Milk and So Delicious’ Wondermilk will both be made of oat milk, coconut milk, coconut oil, and soy. Danone is counting on the new products to reach people who want to switch from dairy for health or ethical reasons but enjoy the taste of milk in their coffee and breakfast cereal.

“There’s been a group of consumers who remain skeptical about plant-based offerings, largely because of their taste and texture,” John Starkey, Danone North America’s president of plant-based food and beverages, told Fast Company. “From our research, we saw that there were about 53 percent of people who say that wouldn’t purchase plant-based beverages because of their taste.”

How this vegan milk is different from the rest
While the company has been in the faux dairy business since 2016, the products did not have the real dairy taste. The company used its experience with both real dairy and faux dairy products to refine the new offerings.

“The first step was to learn about and deconstruct the classic dairy drinking experience, particularly the key nutritional factors of dairy, the molecular composition of dairy, but also the very iconic sensory elements,” Takoua Debeche, Danone North America’s chief research and innovation officer told Fast company.

She explained that the flavor of milk was challenging to replicate because it is a complex mix of sweetness, creaminess, and other components. It was also important to get the texture of the faux milk to feel the same as cow’s milk.

“The texture and the mouthfeel is actually driven by the milkfat particle size,” Debeche said. “Dairy milk has a very specific fat melting curve, and that fat melting curve is a result of the unique saturated fats found in dairy milk.” It took two years to perfect the formular, but the new products have the taste and feel of real milk.

Danone is not alone
While Danone was working on its new product, the competition has not sat still. There are other milk alternatives available that also aim to be more milk like, reports CNN Business.

Notco, a startup Notco, located in Chile, produces a milk alternative called Not Milk that is made of sunflower oil, pea protein, water, and pineapple juice. Another pea-based product called Wunda was launched by Nestle in Europe in 2021.

The food giant Impossible Foods is also working on their own version of milk called Impossible Milk. The company is looking to corner the faux dairy market the same way its Impossible Burger did when it was released in 2016.

An Israeli food tech startup called Remilk is making a cow-free milk that is made in a lab. Made from a microbial fermentation process instead of a cow, the end product doesn’t contain any cholesterol, lactose, hormones, or antibiotics. The company claims that the milk tastes identical to real milk.

For Danone, replicating milk is trickier than meat. The company hopes that people will buy its faux milk creations as well as the real dairy products that define its name.

“Every person in the household doesn't necessarily have the same tastes, needs and desires,” John Starkey, president of plant-based food and beverages for Danone North America told CNN Business. “So we want to really make sure ... that we have a portfolio of offerings that can meet all of consumers' desires and tastes.”

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