Dairy-free milk alternatives are no longer limited to a few sugary options, and it’s not just vegans and the lactose intolerant who are buying them either. From oat to almond to tiger nut, dairy-free milks are becoming a versatile and tasty staple in British kitchens.
But with the rise of delicious dairy alternatives, does that mean a pint of real milk no longer has its place? Nick Barnard, co-founder of Rude Health, shares why he believes both dairy and non-dairy drinks belong in our fridges.
That’s right. We didn’t make our dairy-free drinks because we think you should be drinking them instead of milk, we created them as a refreshing alternative to milk.
When my wife, Camilla, and I created Rude Health in 2005, we were concerned about the confused understanding of what makes food healthy. Still now, the ‘free-from’ shelves are full of ‘healthy’ plant-based alternatives loaded with carrageenan, flavourings, fructose, emulsifiers, gums – none of which contain recognisable or pronounceable ingredients. So we started Rude Health out of a simple desire to bring true quality, more choice and deeper flavours to each and every category – whether milk alternatives, granola, kombucha or snack bars.
We think food should be made of food. And for that reason, we’re strict about only making our food and drinks out of great things. We certainly don’t add anything fake or artificial.
You shouldn’t have to compromise on dairy either
The same attention to quality, responsible sourcing, taste, innovation and flavour should be said for milk too. Remember the days when milk was milk, straight from the farm or dairy with a thick rim of cream on the top in glass bottles? The recent rise of intolerances to foods automatically makes us assume that foods – like dairy – are bad for us. In essence, our food hasn’t changed; it’s the way that we produce it which has.
Many large-scale producers compromise the quality of our food in order to make it last longer, look more uniform and also be less expensive. It’s all about getting what we want, exactly when we want it and at the lowest price. There’s no variation in taste from different breeds of cows or seasonal variety in taste and colour, and no real provenance. Any value that has been in milk has been destroyed, and with it our connection with the farmer too.
Supporting local dairies has never been easier
The good news is… small dairies are back!
Our dairy-free drinks have proved people are buying for ingredients and quality. ‘Dairy-free’ used to be considered the sorts of food and drinks people chose for allergy or ethical reasons. Now it’s mainstream and the dairy-free spectrum spans a huge range of flavours and price. If dairy alternatives are being seen as more than just a necessary commodity, there is no reason milk can’t be valued in the same way too.
That’s where dairies like The Ethical Dairy, Ivy House Farm Dairy, The Estate Dairy and Berkeley Farm come in. These are all small businesses making the highest quality dairy through attention to sourcing and connection with the cow.
Supporting local has never been easier
What a time to build or grow a small business now with social media and platforms like Farmdrop. These are brilliant vehicles for marketing your food or drink, shouting about provenance, sourcing and telling your brand story. We’re ready and waiting for a milk revolution. The rise of micro-producers across all food and drink just goes to show how our food is getting a makeover. For the better.
Seek out small producers, embrace the choice we have available, and never compromise on the quality of your milk – dairy or diary free. It makes up three-quarters of your cappuccino after all.
For the Rude Health range of dairy-free milks and muesli, go to farmdrop.com.