The Vegan Society Aotearoa is always keen to showcase excellence in 100% plant-based and vegan products. Each month we have a theme to focus on and August is Plant Milk Month as it’s International Plant Milk Day on 22nd August – but there are simply too many dairy-free alternatives to look at in just one day! We are delighted that there are so many alternatives out there and several brands that are showing great initiative with this new and burgeoning market.

There’s a huge variety in what is available and each month there’s new innovations on the plant-based scene. Kiwi favourites such as So Good and Vitasoy are producing new blends of plant milk, in addition to their soy milks. Meanwhile there’s the smaller Kiwi owned family businesses such as Little Island and Otis. Plant milks are no longer just liquid either, there’s plant-based powders by Stir, who are capturing the “just add water” market and Mylk Made who have developed a plant milk concentrate! Very economical and comes in glass jars, so great sustainble packaging.

The new Kiwi family is keen to do their bit for the environment and are health savvy. They want delicious, healthy and eco-friendly alternatives and plant milks give them just that! Not only are plant milks expanding exponentially globally and locally, they will continue to do so, as more people become aware of the carbon and water footprint of dairy. The wise farmers are diversifying into growing plants as well as animals. This means a boom for plant-based products in general and surveys suggest the demand is increasing.

Plant-based milks have no cholesterol and some, such as oats and soy, have even been found to actively reduce cholesterol levels. Many contain little or no saturated fats, but good levels of the “good”fats. With so many alterantives to choose from, you can try a different one every day of the week! We can expect to see more hemp milk in future as well as new grains being tried, such as quinoa. Both of these are high in protein and contain omega 3s, making them a great choice for growing children or athletes.

In New Zealand we are blessed with a great range of climates, offering plenty of different crops to be grown, so far we have seen the rise of hemp, oats and soy being NZ grown for NZ plant milks. Soon we can expect to see quinoa, potatoes and macadamia being grown for plant milks. One thing that may be holding NZ producers back is a lack of a plant processing place in NZ. A fully plant-based factory would be able to process all kinds of plants for so many brands, from the big guys to the small family run companies, and supermarket own brands could benefit too. This is surely an opportunity to be grasped by someone?

Look out for more great innovations and delicious plant-based milks on the market, the range is ever growing.

Visit www.vegansociety.org.nz or email info@vegansociety.org.nz for more information.