There are many ways to enjoy your morning cereal, but have you tried it with potato milk yet? DUG, the first potato drink brand, just launched their potato-based milk earlier this year. And, people have been eager to try this ultimate sustainable alternative milk ever since.
Before we dive into the nutritional facts and benefits of potato milk, let’s first talk about potatoes. Potatoes, (yes, the vegetable) are, in fact, healthy. Potatoes contain a good mix of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, minerals, and carbohydrates. Some types of potatoes even contain as many antioxidants as blueberries and blackberries (it’s time to put potato instead of blueberries in your morning smooth).
Although potatoes are healthy, that doesn’t mean potato-based milk has the same nutritional benefits. Like other alternative milk, only a small portion of the milk is made from the “main” source. Potato milk is made up of a combination of ingredients that make them sell in “milk” form.
Brands often add other plant-based proteins, oil, sucrose, sugar, and flavors to create vegan milk. That’s one of the reasons why some nutrition experts are concerned about the health impact of consuming milk alternatives as a substitute for regular dairy. Even though potato-based milk is not the most nutrient-rich milk on the market, it does avoid many common allergies and dietary restrictions such as nuts, gluten, soy, and animal products. It’s the ultimate allergy-friendly product in the dairy category.
Environmental Impact and The Potato Power
Compared with the popular oat and almond milk, potato-based use about half the land it takes to grow the same amount of oats and requires less water than almond milk.
It takes 16 gallons of water to make one glass of almond milk! It takes 56 times less water to grow potatoes than almonds on the same land size. Potato milk is also more sustainable than dairy milk since vegetables have a significantly lower environmental footprint than dairy foods.
Researches from Carbon Cloud AB shares that “The climate footprint of potato drink is significantly lower. In fact, switching to a potato-based alternative reduces the climate impact by about 75%.”
DUG’s Potato MILK
DUG is the Swedish brand that launched the world’s first potato milk this year. Currently, their potato drink is available to purchase at stores around Sweden and the UK. The company said the brand had also launched in China, with the idea of expanding across Europe in the coming months. Earlier this year, DUG was awarded winner for the Best Allergy-Friendly Product award at the World Food Innovation Awards 2021.
As the company’s chief executive, Thomas Olander, said: “Our choice to use potatoes as a base means to have a super-sustainable drink.” The company is not aiming to simply provide sustainable alternative milk, but a SUPER-sustainable one.
“You can cultivate potatoes almost anywhere, and they don’t need much at all to grow. One hectare can yield over a quarter of a million portions of food, with a very low carbon footprint,” their website reads.
To make its potato drink, DUG’s scientists at Lund University take the pure dried potato and mix it with other ingredients, including pea protein and chicory fiber, before heat-treating it. One key ingredient is rapeseed oil, which improves the liquid act like milk. The combination of oil and plant protein is the key to creating the milky texture of dairy.
The brand currently offers three different versions of their potato drink: Original, Barista, and Unsweetened. All three flavors are vegan-friendly and free from lactose, milk, soy, gluten, and nuts.
As one of the most environmentally friendly options on the market today, potato milk could become the new and perfect milk alternative for many consumers. Yet, some customers may see the expensive price tag as a block. The three-liter sample pack costs 7.5 Euros or almost $9, making it much more expensive than dairy, almond, or oat milk.
Just like almond and cashew milk, potato-based milk has a similar disadvantage with its lack of protein. DUG’s alternative milk only contains one gram of protein per serving/100ml. In their most recent report, the global market research company Mintel shows that “High protein” is the most important attribute when people purchase dairy and milk alternatives. It shows the competitive advantage of containing high protein in milk.
The Future of Milk
Environmental concerns are one of the reasons why plant-based diets and products are becoming more and more popular. Consumers are demanding more understanding and knowledge about the environmental impact of their purchases.
Even though dairy milk remains the dominant category in the total milk market, the popularity of dairy milk has declined for years, while milk alternatives have gained more interest. Mintel shows that only 19% of the total shares of the milk market were held by alternative milk in 2021. The research company predicts the dairy alternative milk category will keep its growth momentum in the near future.
Potato milk has shown us some big numbers on lowering its environmental impact compared with other alternative milk or dairy milk. It’s exciting to see the super-sustainable potato drink join the party. Whether or not it will become mainstream in the milk category is still questionable. We will see the results after more and more people have tried it (with their morning cereal, of course!).