By Kevin Eve and Jacob Conway, Co-Founders of Uproot
Plant milk has been around since the middle ages but only became common in the refrigerators of Americans in the late 1990’s. The plant milk movement gained steam after the introduction of oat milk to the US in 2016. You might have heard of this phenomenon on SNL or in the New York Times. If you have been thinking about drinking plant milk but can’t commit, or if you already drink plant milk but do not know why, we have collected our top three reasons to choose plant milk over dairy.
Plant milks require far fewer of our planet’s resources and produce less emissions than the bovine alternative. According to an article published in the International Dairy Journal in 2013, total greenhouse gas emissions from cow’s milk were 2.05 kg CO2e per kg milk consumed. By comparison, the greenhouse gas emissions from plant milks are around 0.4 kg CO2e per kg of milk. In other words, dairy milk produces 400% more greenhouse gas emissions than plant milk. Instead of feeding crops to cows, we can make delicious milks from plants themselves, helping to reduce emissions, water use and land use.
Plant milks are delicious and there are many varieties, so it is easy to find one you love. Oat milk pairs perfectly with coffee and steams into a beautiful latte– just ask your barista. Many chocolate plant milks are decadent and delicious. Let’s be honest, you love chocolate milk because of the chocolate, not the cow. The best part is, you can enjoy plant milks with confidence because the milk is not intended for a baby cow, it is meant for you!
Plant milk can be a healthy alternative to cow’s milk. Unsweetened or lightly sweetened plant milks have far less sugar and fewer calories than dairy milk. A strong selling point of cow’s milk is the high protein and calcium content, but good quality soy milk and pea milk have as much or more protein and calcium than cow’s milk.
Something else you might not know about dairy is that calves (baby cows) do not drink cow’s milk because the milk is sold for humans to drink. In fact, the milk replacer fed to calves often contains soy protein! If cows are drinking soy milk, why don’t humans? Not drinking their mother’s milk is only a small part of the brutality of factory farmed dairy cows. Trust us, we can send you the videos but you don’t want to see them.
Plant milks are a functional, delicious and nutritious substitute for cow’s milk. Why not choose the option that is better for you, the planet, and the animals? Next time you order a latte, ask for oat milk. Next time you are picking up a half gallon, choose soy milk. When you are having a meal at a college cafeteria, swing by the Uproot dispenser. After a long day or a tough workout, a glass of chocolate pea milk is a great way to refuel. Plant milk is milk you can feel good about drinking.
- Ripple Foods. Life Cycle Assessment of Ripple Non-Dairy Milk, Life Cycle Associates, LLC, 2017. https://www.ripplefoods.com/pdf/Ripple_LCA_Report.pdf.
- Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology Nilsson. Life Cycle Assessment, Katarina, and Magdalena Wallman, Internal Report for Oatly AB, 2013. https://www.zaailingen.com/wp-content/bestanden/oatly.pdf
- Brody, Jane E. “Huge Study Of Diet Indicts Fat And Meat.” The New York Times, 8 May 1990.https://www.nytimes.com/1990/05/08/science/huge-study-of-diet-indicts-fat-and-meat.html
- Thoma, Greg, et al. “Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Milk Production and Consumption in the United States: A Cradle-to-Grave Life Cycle Assessment circa 2008.” International Dairy Journal, vol. 31, Apr. 2013, doi:10.1016/j.idairyj.2012.08.013.
- Lalles, J.p., et al. “Hydrolyzed Soy Protein Isolate Sustains High Nutritional Performance in Veal Calves.” Journal of Dairy Science, vol. 78, no. 1, 1995, pp. 194–204., doi:10.3168/jds.s0022-0302(95)76629-2.