When almond milk first hit the dairy aisle, foodies around the world quickly hoisted the creamy, nut-based beverage onto a pedestal. After all, it satisfied the growing demand for dairy-free and soy-free options. Unfortunately for almond milk, rumors circulating about its environmentally detrimental production process tarnished its reputation. As is the case after any ruler is threatened, many started circulating the throne. Cashew milk tried its hand, as did pistachio and pecan. Hemp and rice made a dent in the health-nut circuit but failed to get the popular vote. While we usually don’t like to get involved in politics, we can’t help but put our money behind the latest contender: pea protein!
That’s right, in addition to completely infiltrating the food space with its clean nutrition profile, pea protein has set out to take the dairy-free milk market by storm. Before debuting as a stand-alone, pea protein made a ripple in the market in conjunction with other vegetables as Veggemo, a plant-based milk made from potatoes, cassava root, in addition to pea protein. Now, after proving itself a bit, pea protein is ready to debut in a whole new way. Their campaign manager? Ripple Foods. Last year, Ripple raised $13.5 million to develop the innovative pea-protein based milk, which it says has eight times the protein of almond milk and 50 percent more calcium than milk and a third of the saturated fat! Boasting these impressive numbers, Ripple is set to reach Whole Foods stores nationwide this April and Target in July.
In addition to being an exciting new dairy-free option, pea protein-based milk presents an environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional milk and even dairy-free options like almond milk. Considering that maintaining a dairy farm requires 3.4 million gallons of water EVERY DAY, this is a problem that cannot be ignored. Ripple’s milk takes 96 percent less water to make than almond milk, 99 percent less than dairy milk, and 76 percent less than soy milk! In addition, it has a carbon footprint that is 93 percent smaller than that of dairy, a statistic that is nothing to scoff about!
More and more people want to keep dairy out of their diets, and in response, the market for milks is changing right before our very eyes.
“U.S. milk consumption has been steadily declining by 25 percent per capita since the mid-1970s. Americans, on average, drink 37 percent less milk today than they did in 1970, according to data from the USDA,” said Nil Zacharias, Co-Founder of One Green Planet, “That’s an astounding fact. What are they consuming instead? Plant-based alternatives. Due to concerns ranging from sustainability to health, including the desire to avoid allergens like soy, and nuts, consumers are looking for cleaner protein options from plant-based sources, and pea protein has emerged as the new favorite. Peas are hot right now not only because they have a lower environmental impact (less land and water use), but also because of their high nutritional value and functional properties that make them a versatile, allergy friendly, non-GMO clean protein powerhouse.”
Ripple Foods claims that their product tastes almost identical to real milk and with its sustainability and impressive nutritional resumé, it seems pea protein-based milk is a force to be reckoned with! Now we just have to see how the product creates ripples in the polls, er shelves, when it’s put to popular vote at Whole Foods and Target.
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