Plant milk refers to non-dairy beverages flavored and scented with a water-based plant extract. Its color is similar to that of milk. A wide variety of plants produces milk. These days, consumers are increasingly likely to choose alternatives to cow milk due to factors including lactose intolerance, hypercholesterolemia prevalence, allergies to cow milk, and preference for vegan diets. Plant-based milk products have gained enormous popularity around the world over the years due to their numerous health benefits, ease of availability, and rise in the vegan population.

Demand for plant-based milk is particularly high due to increased cases of lactose intolerance and increased awareness of its high nutritional benefits. As a result, adopting effective marketing strategies to raise awareness of plant-based products and their health benefits will boost sales of plant-based milk products. The plant-based milk market in 2021 was worth $35 billion, and by 2030, it will reach $123.1 billion at a compound annual growth rate of 15% during the forecast period 2021-2030.

Milk substitutes made of plants are widely used for economic, economic, and health reasons. Plant-based milk comes in a variety of flavors, including soy, coconut, oat, hemp, rice, quinoa, pea, almond, and other nut kinds, but the nutritional profiles often differ between brands and types.

Dairy milk is a significant source of micronutrients like phosphorus, selenium, and zinc; therefore, consumers must understand the nutritional differences in any plant-based milk alternatives they eat.

Analysis of plant-based milk

Almond, coconut, hemp, oat, pea, cashew, rice, and soy are a few of the plant-based dairy substitutes that were examined by researchers from the IFSH, a collaboration between the Illinois Institute of Technology and the Food and Drug Administration Trusted Source (FDA). These products are all sold under different trade names.

They used a method known as inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) to analyze the amounts of phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, and selenium in a total of 85 samples. This technique is incredibly sensitive for figuring out the precise concentration of a certain element, like a metal, in a given sample.

The researchers discovered that the mineral content varied greatly using statistical analysis. There were variations not only between brands of the same kind of product but also between other types of plant-based milk substitutes (such as soy-based versus almond).

Only drinks made from peas and soy exhibited higher levels of magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium when compared to cow's milk out of all the samples examined in the study. The highest was pea milk, with amounts of phosphorus, zinc, and selenium that were roughly 50% higher.

Alternative market

Magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc aren't always included on nutrition labels, but they're still essential for optimum health.

The need for magnesium grows with age and is also required in greater proportions during pregnancy. Magnesium may help with constipation laxation as well as the prevention and treatment of hypertension.

Phosphorus, on the other hand, strengthens bones and teeth and may be especially beneficial to patients suffering from respiratory illnesses or eating problems. Meanwhile, selenium is an antioxidant that may help prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease, thyroid disorders, and other ailments. While zinc deficiency is uncommon, this mineral has recently received a lot of attention for its possible capacity to maintain a healthy immune system.

Choosing pea or soy milk may have additional advantages.

Pea milk has higher phosphorus, zinc, and selenium concentrations and a lower likelihood of causing allergies than other plant-based milk like almond or soy. Pea milk has more protein per serving than rice, almond, or coconut milk. Unsweetened pea milk is low in sugar, which makes it an excellent choice for diabetics or those on a low-carb diet. Soy milk has its own set of advantages. Soy milk has advantages such as reduced cost and equivalent protein, calcium, and vitamins A, D, and B to cow's milk.

On the other hand, all eight plant-based milk included at least some magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc.

Dairy milk still rules supreme

The vilification of cow's milk in recent years has been popular due to its high caloric content, heavy fat content, and position as a common allergen. However, dairy milk is a great source of protein and other minerals.

In reality, no plant-based milk in the most recent study could surpass cow's milk in zinc levels. Additionally, dairy milk contained higher quantities of magnesium than all alternatives except hemp and soy milk, as well as the same amount or more of phosphorus and selenium as all options except pea milk.

About one-third of the RDA for calcium is found in one serving of cow's milk, which is quickly absorbed. It is also less expensive than plant-based milk.

Editor’s Note: The views expressed in this article of those of the author and not necessarily reflect the views of Dairy Foods or its parent BNP Media.

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