When New York City’s Elmhurst Dairy opened in 1925, founders Max and Arthur Schwartz hand-bottled milk from 200 cows. They then delivered the bottles, which sat in containers of ice, in a truck throughout the city. Over the next few decades, Elmhurst became one of the biggest dairy companies in New York City.
But now everything has changed. While the family owners are still the same, Elmhurst has become a vegan company, and now only produces dairy-free milks (made from almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, and cashews) called Elmhurst Milked.
At the plant, the company has developed its own process of making the nut milks, which it calls “milking.” Cold milling machines extract all of the protein, fat, and micronutrients from the nuts, which means Elmhurst doesn’t need to fortify the milks with additional vitamins.
Plant-based dairy alternatives have grown into a $1.4 billion industry. A recent Nielsen survey found that many people consider those dairy-free products to be healthier, since they often are lower in calories, cholesterol, and fat than cow’s milk. Others buy them because they are lactose-intolerant, have a dairy allergy, or have gone vegan. “It’s about transforming with the times,” CEO Henry Schwartz says. “As awareness and demand for vegan products continues to grow, we’re seeing plant-based options become mainstream.”
Meanwhile, over here on the west coast of the country, we were delighted to feature Haus Mylk at Vegfest this year. They plan to start delivering fresh nut-based milks to homes in the Seattle area in the near future.
Plant-powered dairy alternatives have been growing fast worldwide. Sales have more than doubled in the last 8 years and there’s no end in sight. The growing availability and promotion of plant-based options to traditional dairy lines, particularly beverages, has helped boost this market, along with cultured products such as yogurt, frozen desserts and ice cream, creamers, and cheese. Almost all mainstream supermarkets now have some dairy-free alternatives.
A range of increasingly sophisticated flavors and blends of non-dairy milks from different sources are being launched. While soy-based beverage products remain popular, the market has expanded to include an increasing selection of alternative milks, using grains such as rice, quinoa, oats, and barley; and nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, and macadamias, as well as seed milks such as hemp and flaxseed. In just the past year two new primary ingredients for U.S. plant-based milks, pistachio and pecan, have emerged.
Seeing the success of these products, the dairy industry is getting nervous. In fact, the dairy sector has become so concerned about the success of plant-based milks that it recently prompted 32 Congressmen to write a letter to FDA. The letter, which requests the agency enforce their rule against non-dairy beverages carrying the term “milk,” was meant to prevent the dairy industry from losing further market share to plant-based alternatives. However, they tried this tactic with mayonnaise and it didn’t work then. We don’t think it will work this time either.
Try out some of the many new plant-based milks available in your grocery store. For tips on buying dairy alternatives check out our shopping guide In Pursuit of Great Food.
For those following a vegan diet, dairy and egg alternatives are always welcome. Producers are experiencing an increased demand as more and more people seek plant-based products to buy, and they are responding by coming up with an ever wider variety of products. According to recent estimates, by 2020 the market for non-dairy products is expected to hit $20 billion. A record number of plant-based products are now available for sale in Washington’s grocery stores and supermarkets, and many more are in the pipeline. Here’s a sneak peak at what some producers are bringing to the marketplace.
While most people know them for their popular non-dairy cheese products, Daiya has been innovating some new products lately. For instance, the brand recently launched a line of especially well-reviewed dairy-free cheezecakes, three flavors of cheezy mac, and now, an array of Greek style yogurts. The non-dairy yogurt comes in four flavors, blueberry, peach, strawberry and black cherry, and each serving offers eight grams of protein. The company also offers a line of cream cheese style spreads, multiple varieties of vegan cheeses (both shredded, sliced and in blocks) and six pizzas (one of which uses the popular meat substitute, Beyond Meat, as a topping). Read more
Meat and dairy substitutes are getting popular. The global market for meat substitutes is expected to reach $ 5.17 Billion by 2020, at a compound annual growth rate of 6.4% from 2015 to 2020 according to Markets and Markets, a food marketing research company. Meanwhile, the global non-dairy market is expected to reach $19.5 Billion by 2020. Another industry research group, Mintel Menu Insights, says vegetarian restaurant menu options have grown 66 percent in the past three years. Vegetarian foods are really on the move.
The animal-derived food product industry sees the rising trend and is getting nervous. The push back has begun in the courtroom and with regulators, but has failed each time. Almond milk was sued for using the word “milk” after almond, but that was thrown out of court. And just recently, Just Mayo, an eggless mayonnaise, fought back and won against regulators who initially said that they couldn’t call anything “eggless mayo.”
Meanwhile, those interested in whole plant foods got a big boost from the UN. The General Assembly declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses. Pulses are legumes such as beans, peas and lentils. The UN states that pulses are “an affordable alternative to more expensive animal-based protein, pulses are ideal for improving diets.” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon went on to say in an inaugural celebration that “pulses contribute significantly in addressing hunger, food security, malnutrition, environmental challenges and human health, and also are a vital source of plant-based proteins and amino acids.”
Here in Washington, the veg restaurant scene is going strong. We’re happy to announce another new vegan restaurant, Harvest Beat. The restaurant will feature one seating a night for a five-course, $50, vegan set menu that will change regularly to “respect food of the moment.” The owners, Jan and Aaron Geibel say, “here at Harvest Beat we are gathering “the goodness” to help create a healthy world.” The restaurant has room for up to 60 diners, an open kitchen, and a patio in the back. The restaurant is located at 1711 N 45th Seattle 98103 tel. 206 547-1348. We’re sure this new restaurant will be a big hit!