There’s no denying the rise in popularity of plant-based or alt-milk drinks in the UK and across the world. More of us are exploring various alternatives to dairy, whether for our health, allergies or intolerance, sustainability, veganism, animal welfare reasons or just wanting to cut down on our dairy consumption.
Whatever the reason, with so many different types of plant-based milks on the market, it’s challenging to know which ones to opt for. If you’re working in an office, it’s likely that at least some of your team will want at least one dairy milk alternative for their tea and coffee. As a facilities or office manager, if you’re offering your team a quality office coffee experience at work, it makes sense to offer quality milk for them as well.
Such a simple and affordable office perk can make all the difference to staff morale. By showing consideration and inclusivity for all staff members, they’ll feel more valued, loyal and more likely to attract and retain talent. It’s a well know fact that happy employees are more productive and of course, this also contributes to a positive and inclusive workplace culture – something many UK businesses are continuously striving for.
Oat milk vs almond milk vs coconut milk
We take a look at three of our favourite plant-based milks to give you the lowdown on each of their pros and cons. Understanding what will work well in your office will help you and your team make your purchasing decision. In this blog, we’ll review oat milk, almond milk and coconut milk.
It’s important to note that there are lots more varieties out there that include hemp milk, pea milk, potato milk, rice milk, and soy milk. Alongside the more popular nut-based milk made from almonds, you can also get nut milks made from pecan, cashew, hazelnut, walnut, macadamia and more.
What’s the UK plant-based milk market looking like in 2022?
Oat milk holds the number one spot, with Brits spending an estimated £146 million on oat milk in 2020, up from £74 million in 2019. The second most popular plant-based milk is almond milk which also eclipsed the £100 million mark. It rose from £96 million in 2019 to £105 million last year. Sales of coconut milk are also on the rise. Overall, all plant-based milk sales in the UK are at an estimated £394 million. Traditional cow’s milk sales however are still the UK’s favourite with estimated sales at £3.2 billion.
With its creamy consistency, oat milk is a fantastic dairy milk substitute for tea and coffee. Unlike others that change the taste of beverages notably, this is arguably the closest tasting to cow’s milk. This is probably why it’s the number one choice in the UK as people are making the shift from dairy. It also makes a really great foam for your typical milk-based coffees made in your office coffee machine like cappuccinos, lattes and macchiatos for example.
Overall, oat milk is good for you. It’s often fortified with calcium and vitamin D, both of which can benefit your bones. It’s also packed full of fibre and protein so it can support a healthy digestive system. If you’re calorie counting, oat milk is fairly low in calories with just 130 cals per cup. It’s low in fat and sugar, and high in protein.
From a sustainability perspective, its production is fairly low impact on the environment.
This nut-based milk only recently lost its top spot to oat milk. It’s still very popular and can be found in your high street cafes, supermarkets and local stores. It contains omega-3 fatty acids that are important for heart health, as well as the powerful antioxidant vitamin E.
It’s naturally low in sugar, so again a good choice if you’re watching your waistline. Almond milk is really accessible and easy to find in stores and coffee shops. Its nutty flavour can add a pleasant nuance to coffee drinks when made correctly. It works in hot coffee, but it also works well in a refreshing iced coffee.
You may be surprised to know that all non-dairy milks are generally better for the environment than cow’s milk, although almond milk is not as environmentally friendly as you’d perhaps think. The main environmental concern surrounding almond milk is its production. Production involves high pesticide use and huge water consumption. That makes it even worse when you factor in that 80% of almond orchards are grown in drought-stricken California where water is in high demand.
And finally, coconut is another milk increasing in popularity to add to a cup of coffee. It’s made from a blend of coconut flesh and water. Its consistency is thicker and creamier than dairy milk. In coffee, it provides a well-balanced taste and aroma.
It does still taste of coconut so it adds an extra subtle sweetness. Sustainability-wise, it scores generally good as coconut trees use significantly less water than dairy milk production. Coconut trees also absorb carbon dioxide which can help stop climate change.
However considering that coconuts can only be grown in sunny and tropical climates, there’s limited land where they can thrive. This means that if coconut milk production increases too much or too fast on an industrial scale, it may encroach on natural wildlife habitats putting increasing pressure on the environment.
What’s right for your office?
Only you and your team will know what type of milk is right for you. If you’re just venturing into plant-based milk, oat milk is probably the safest place to start as it’s a good all-rounder. But ask your team and see what they would like and you can take it from there. If you need any advice, simply get in touch with our team.
You can also order oat milk from our online shop to get you started.