Milk that tastes like real milk has taken on a new meaning with the rise of many milk alternatives in the 21st century. From plant-based to synthetic, cows to goats, and even hemp, what started as a choice between whole, low-fat, or skim milk, has exploded into a smorgasbord of milk alternatives at the supermarket, each one looking to elevate your ‘milk’ experience.
Spoilt For Choice
Supermarkets and cafes are stacked with plant-based milks derived from cereals, legumes or nuts. Although milk alternatives represent only a tiny portion of the market (9% according to 2019 figures from Dairy Australia), it accounts for over 100 million litres.
However, despite the growing list of competitors, dairy milk is still number one nutritionally. Rich in protein, vitamins A, D, and B12, riboflavin and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, zinc, and iodine, milk has enabled humans to sustain themselves for over 10,00 years. To compete with cow's milk, plant-based milk manufacturers artificially enrich their products to reach similar nutrition levels, with soy milk being the best alternative for replacing cow’s milk in the human diet, according to a 2017 study.
Regardless, a quarter of Australians chose plant milk in 2021 (the most popular option being almond, followed by soy and oat) despite there being no plant-based milk that naturally provides the same level of nutrition as dairy.
Which Milk Is Right For You?
As we often point out on our blog, 70% of the world's adult population cannot digest lactose, the primary sugar protein in cow’s milk. However, that hasn’t stopped the average person from consuming 6,178 litres of milk in their lifetime. So why so many milk alternatives?
Well, that sugar protein lactose (made up of the A1 and A2 proteins) we mentioned is notoriously tricky to digest beyond seven or eight, with the A1 protein leading to some unfortunate gastrointestinal side effects. Plant-based milk is undoubtedly better for you if you are lactose intolerant, but as mentioned before, it lacks the same nutrition as cow’s milk.
The nutritional differences are so massive that Food Standards Australia requires all plant-based beverages that contain less protein than milk to have advice on the label that the product is not suitable as a complete milk replacement for children under five years old. Even plant-based milk that meets the necessary protein requirements must be labelled unsuitable for those under two.
Plant-based milk also lacks the same consistency as cow’s milk, requiring many milk alternative producers to create better processes and technology to emulate the real thing.
What Milk Should I Drink?
A report by the University of Wollongong revealed that almond milk was the best-selling plant-based milk. “While there’s no issue in having almond milk in your coffee,” Professor Eleanor Beck, Discipline Leader in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Wollongong's School of Medicine, reminds us that “you're not getting the same nutrition that you might be getting if you had a dairy milk.”
Though these plant-based products may be labelled as milk alternatives, Professor Beck stresses that whenever you remove food from your diet, it must be replaced. However, “that may not be the products that are marketed as healthier or better for the environment.”
Fortunately, you don’t have to avoid milk altogether, thanks to the rise of A2 milk varieties. Unlike regular milk, A2 milk does not contain the A1 protein, eliminating those gastrointestinal side effects. And then there’s our A2+ Probiotics Milk Powder, a game-changing formula that promises to make your daily dairy intake more nutritious, enjoyable and delicious.
Compared to a single cup of non-fat milk, NATUREDAY A2+ milk powder is boosted with extra calcium (572mg compared to 299mg) plus natural calcium lactate to strengthen bones, vitamin D3 and vitamin A for calcium absorption, more than double the protein (8.4g compared to 3.4g) and an award-winning combination of patented pharmaceutical-grade probiotic strains from DuPont - Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM and Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 - to improve gut health and optimise nutrient absorption.
Milk Alternatives Comparison Chart
We searched high and low for a milk alternatives comparison chart that accurately detailed the differences between each milk product on the market and came up short. So in keeping with our goal to refine dairy in the era of dairy 2.0, we created a milk comparison chart listing all the need-to-know information like calories per serving, sugar content, calcium levels, whether lactose-free and how long it lasts in the preferred storage method.
Our aim is to help the average consumer understand the different types of milk available in Australia. The statistics included were specifically picked to help you find the perfect milk choice for your various needs. Whether you have dietary requirements, are an avid baker, enjoy drinking milk straight from the carton, or are looking for a fresh alternative, this comparison chart is your guide to picking the best milk for your diet.
Referencing popular milk brands, we’ve sourced nutritional information from their website and product labels to create the ultimate milk comparison chart!
Let’s pull out a few interesting facts from our milk comparison chart.
Only soy milk can match cow’s milk for protein and calcium
Goat’s milk contains more calcium than cow’s milk
Coconut milk has the lowest levels of nutrition
Hemp milk has the least calories per serving
Plant-based milk has a longer shelf life than fresh milk
Powdered milk has the longest shelf life of all milk products
Rice milk has the most sugar per serving for the alternative milks category
NATUREDAY Dairy A2+ milk has the highest concentration of nutrients compared to all other milk products.
Full Cream Milk: (https://www.dairyfarmers.com.au/product/original-milk/)
Skim Milk: (https://www.dairyfarmers.com.au/product/skim-milk/)
Light Milk: (https://www.dairyfarmers.com.au/product/skim-milk/)
A2 Milk Full Cream: (https://www.a2milk.com.au/products/a2-milk-full-cream)
Organic Full Cream Milk: (https://www.barambahorganics.com.au/milk-milk/full-cream-milk/)
Soy Milk: (https://soy.com.au/product/soy-milk-original/)
Almond Milk: (https://www.sanitarium.com.au/products/so-good/nut-milks/so-good-almond-milk-original#3)
Oat Milk: (https://www.oatly.com/en-au/stuff-we-make/oat-milk/oat-milk)
Rice Milk: (https://soy.com.au/product/rice-milk-unsweetened/)
Coconut Milk: (https://milklabco.com/coconut-milk/)
A2+ Probiotic Milk Powder: (https://www.naturedaydairy.com/our-product)
Full Cream Milk Powder: (https://www.devondale.com.au/en/products/milk/full-cream-milk-powder)
Skim Milk Powder: (https://www.devondale.com.au/en/products/milk/skim-milk-powder)
Goats Milk: (https://www.harrisfarm.com.au/products/hfm-pure-goats-milk)
Hemp Milk: (https://www.goodhemp.com/our-products/ambient-creamy-hemp-milk/)
Plant-Based Milk: (https://au.mightydrinks.com/mlkology-full-6-1-litre/13856270.html)