With so many dairy alternative options on the market, it’s actually getting harder to tell which plant based milk brand is right for you. We reviewed 3 of our favorite brands and why we think they are the best choice for the three pillars we value most at UFO - Udder Free Only; Health, Wellness and Environment:
We might be biased, but UFO Hemp Milk was designed with the idea in mind that, “By consuming more plant-based foods, we reduce our environmental footprint and lead healthier lives.” Taste, texture, nutritive density and the environment were all main factors in determining how we came up with our unique blend of Hemp, Chia and Oat. In doing so, we managed to invent a dairy alternative milk that tasted great, contained 12g of plant based protein, Omega 3s + 6s and all 9 essential amino acids in a single 32oz bottle. By staying true to our company pillars, we have created a plant based milk that focuses entirely on health, wellness and the environment:
UFO is a ‘clean label’ non-dairy beverage, meaning there are no additives such as gums, oils or stabilizers. Often times you will see ingredients such as Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Rape Seed Oil listed on dairy alternative beverages. These are used to thicken the beverage since most of the fibers and nutrients have been filtered out during the production process. Though technically plant based and safe for consumption, they add little value to the actual end product. Utilizing a little creativity and innovation, UFO provides consumers with a delicious and creamy Hemp milk without filtering out all the good stuff. We also specifically designed UFO Unsweetened to be SUGAR FREE. That’s right ZERO SUGAR. We do add a small amount of sugar to UFO Vanilla, but when compared to a brand like Oatly, UFO Vanilla is literally half the amount of sugar and calories.
Hemp is an ideal plant based alternative to dairy as it possesses an incredibly dense amount of vitamins, minerals and nutritive properties. Unlike Almonds, Soy and Dairy, Hemp seed falls outside of the leading allergens, making it an easy to digest and health forward option. When compared to Dairy, Hemp milk does not cause bloating or phlegm build up, and has the added benefit of being a pesticide free plant based option meaning that no animals are harmed in the process.
UFO is USDA certified organic and packaged in a fully recyclable PlantCarton from Evergreen Packaging. This carton is over 70% paper; made from trees grown in forests where responsible forestry practices are used. About 55% of the energy used to make the paper comes from biomass, and the carton itself is fully recyclable. UFO has foregone the plastic cap typically found on gable top beverage packages, in an effort to lessen our contribution to single-use plastic pollution and stay true to our mission.
The benefits of Hemp as it relates to the environment are far beyond compare to any other non-dairy milk option. Hemp lends itself to being used for a multitude of purposes from food and textiles, to concrete. Hemp is naturally resilient to bugs which means it requires no pesticides to grow. This benefits us as consumers, and the soil from being subjected to toxic pollutants. The roots of the industrial hemp plant grow deep, so when the plant is cultivated those roots are pulled up along with the nitrates buried deep within the earth. By bringing these nutrients to the surface, it provides optimal soil conditions for farmers when they plant their next crop on that same land. As if these benefits weren’t enough, the Hemp plant is a natural at capturing massive amounts of carbon out of our atmosphere. One acre of Hemp can capture 3 to 6 tons of CO2 and requires limited watering. For comparison, each year, “one Cow can belch 220 pounds of methane, which is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide.” When looking at the whole picture, Hemp is by far the most eco friendly option as it pertains to plant based dairy alternative milks.
New Barn Organics is another “no nonsense” voice in the non-dairy space. Started in 2015, New Barn set out to create an, “almond milk that tasted more like the one we made at home and only used simple, organic ingredients.” Their unsweetened almondmilk is a divergence from the category norm in that it’s certified USDA organic, and made with just 4 simple ingredients. New Barn has made regenerative agriculture a cornerstone of their product offering. This is a next level approach to the dairy alternative space, particularly when it comes to factoring in environmental sustainability. They have also chosen to use the latest PlantCarton from Evergreen Packaging, and recently began offering two new flavors; unsweetened coconut and unsweetened vanillla almondmilk.
New Barn Organics is setting a standard for what customers should be expecting from brands in the natural products grocery category, and are making a clear statement that they are prioritizing the environment in their non-dairy set.
Elmhurst was established in 1925 and closed it’s doors to dairy in 2016. Known as, “New York City’s last dairy” Elmhurst has become a leader in the plant based milk movement. Their foresight to lean heavily in the direction of dairy alternatives was as much a financial decision as it was an environmental one. With a unique processing method, Elmhurst has become the fastest growing domestic plant based beverage company in the United States. Though their products are not certified organic, they are clean label in most cases:
When seeking the most eco friendly, environmentally conscious plant based milk on the market, Elmhurst deserves a top spot. If not for their ability to promote and grow the dairy alternative space, then for their commitment to choose plant based after almost 100 years in the dairy sector. Change isn’t easy for any businesses. Often times profits, traditions, processes and jobs are all at stake when this level of change is on the table. We applaud Elmhurst for choosing to change in such a significant way while maintaining a commitment to doing it the right way; prioritizing the health of their customer. They have made a bet on a future where individual health and environmental sustainability are one and the same, and that holistic approach is something we hope to see more of in the larger plant based foods space.