With the midpoint of Veganuary now passed, you’re probably familiar with the different options available for plant-based milks (and if you aren’t we have a handy guide here). But with many different brands available you might be wondering which is best?
It’s certainly true that some companies are attempting to get in on the vegan trend for the wrong reasons, and it can be difficult to avoid greenwashers attempting to take advantage of well meaning consumers giving Veganuary a go. With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of plant-based milk brands that taste great and are doing good things for the planet below, to help you dodge the environmental fraudsters. You’ve probably heard of most of these companies, but now it’s time to get better acquainted with labels you usually pass by in the fridge aisle.
Our Top Picks…
Company: Oatly developed their first product based on nutritional research from Lund University in Sweden back in the 1990s, and since then the company has grown exponentially. When it comes to climate change they’re not messing around, even being sued by the Swedish dairy sector for their tongue -in-cheek ribbing of the industry. Oatly are keen to highlight the dangers of global warming and carry messages about climate change right on their packaging, along with the numbers of their own carbon emissions. They are huge fans of oats due to their ability to regenerate soil and are in the middle of a fascinating regenerative agriculture experiment. Working in the American Midwest in Idaho and Minnesota, Oatly are helping farmers with crop rotation to improve local environments and biodiversity,
Product: The clue here is in the name; Oatly only does oats. Alongside their range of Oat Milks including flavoured, Barista, Organic and Low-Fat, widely available in UK supermarkets including Sainsbury’s and Tesco, Oatly also have lines of yoghurt (or ‘oatghurt’, as they call it), custard and cream, creme fraiche, oat spread and cream.
Company: Usually considered to be one of the OGs, Alpro have been making their plant-based products for 40-years, since climate change was a niche issue only hippies talked about. Alpro is a certified B Corp, meaning it has been thoroughly audited and found to meet and progress the highest ethical, social and environmental standards. Some of their eco-friendly practices include developing bee-friendly tech to use on their farms and donating waste to charity. They also get their almonds from small-scale farms in the Mediterranean (rather than California) to avoid harmful water-use practices.
Product: Since the 1980s Alpro has branched into coconut milk, oat, soy, almond, hazelnut, and even cashew. Also available are products like ice cream, yoghurts, barista style drinks and a delicious array of desserts. Their soya cream comes with a strong recommendation from us, as does their Silky Smooth Chocolate desserts.
Company: It may be a relatively newer brand started in the noughties, but that doesn’t mean Rude Health are slacking on their environmental commitments. Couple Nick and Camilla Barnard dreamt their business up in 2005, starting out with muesli before branching into plant-based milk, and we’re so happy they did! Just like Alpro, Rude Health grows produce in eco-friendly locations (almonds in Sicily and oats in the UK) and are a registered B Corp, meaning you can trust that they put some good into the world as well as in your fridge. This ethically-conscious company also donate their surplus produce to FareShare, a UK-based food charity.
Product: Rude Health offers a huge range of milks to choose from, including almond, oat, rice, hazelnut, coconut and soya. They also have a delicious line of porridges including their fruity date variety, which we would highly recommend if you are on the look out for something to pour your plant-based goodness into.
Company: You may know them from their smoothies but Innocent are also big in the plant-based milk game too! While arguably the biggest name on the list, and we generally encourage our readers to shop small, they do have amazing green credentials that stretch back to before most other brands jumped on the bandwagon. Innocent first mapped their carbon footprint in 2004 and since then have developed a wide array of initiatives to green their company. rridors; 80% of their processing plants use renewable energy, and they ship their goods instead of flying, producing 86x less carbon. This last detail is important; so many companies find ways to dodge their transport carbon costs as it is usually the hardest part of the supply chain to decarbonise as well as the easiest to hide.
Product: Innocent currently runs lines of oat, almond, hazelnut and coconut milks; all well-worth a try. Widely stocked in UK supermarkets, Innocent’s milks are all fresh and therefore found in the fridge aisle.
We do our best to research and find the most environmentally-friendly companies to recommend at GoEco. However, if you have any suggestions that we might not know of, or disagree with any of our recommendations, please get in contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. We always want to learn more about the companies with the potential to save our future!