Plant milk is helping save the environment

Almond milk is one of the twelve plant milk options available in South Africa. Picture: Pexels

Almond milk is one of the twelve plant milk options available in South Africa. Picture: Pexels

Published Aug 5, 2021


A plant-based diet has been associated with a bevy of potential health benefits. It has also fuelled an entire industry and been mooted to helped the environment too.

Plant milk is one of those industries that has received a boost as an alternative to dairy products. Plant milk is created from plant-based ingredients as opposed to milk derived from an animal.

Many people prefer this type of milk for its nutritional value, lower environmental impact and animal welfare. Additionally, those with dairy allergies and who have lactose intolerance, use plant milk as a healthy alternative.

One of the most significant benefits of plant-based milk is its reduced environmental impact. It takes 28 litres of water to make one litre of soya milk, whereas a single litre of cow’s milk uses 628 litres of water to produce.

In SA there are more than 20 types of plant milk and at least 80 brands to choose from. Picture: George Desipris/Pexels

ProVeg South Africa director Donovan Will said choosing milk options has more environmental benefits: “A lot of our greenhouse gas emissions come from the animal agriculture sector. Anything that can save water, is a huge environmental benefit.”

Last year food awareness organisation, ProVeg attempted to catalogue the plant milk options available in South Africa and found there are 12 types of plant milk with 80 brand options available to consumers.

The most common options include almond, soy and oat milk. Some of the other varieties included brown rice, cashew, coconut, hazelnut, hemp and macadamia nut milk.

World Plant Milk Day is celebrated later this month on August 22 and is an opportunity to increase awareness around the benefits of plant milk.

Will said that this day was significant because its a chance to highlight all the advantages of choosing plant milk versus dairy milk: “We want to educate the South African consumer about that. People don’t realise how many options there are in our country.”

Will’s advice to anyone that would like to try plant milk is slowly introduced it into your diet. “Try it in your morning coffee especially. People are often most surprised at how they don’t notice the difference.”

He added: “There are 80 options available in the South African market. If you don’t like one, try something else or give yourself time to warm up to it.”

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