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Is Potato Milk the Next Big Thing in Vegan Foods?


Consumers have seen several alt-milks on supermarket shelves or as an alternative to dairy at their local coffee bar in recent years. While the number of available options is already considerable, a potential new alternative is looming on the horizon: potato milk. 

Indeed, even now, potato milk is showing a great deal of promise with respect to both consumer appeal and sustainability.

Developed by Professor Eva Tornberg at the Department of Food Technology, Engineering, and Nutrition at Sweden’s Lund University, potato milk is seen as a sustainable alternative to the likes of almond, soy, and oat on consumers’ tables.

Currently marketed under the brand Dug by Swedish company Veg of Lund, the milk is made by processing potatoes with chicory fiber, pea protein, and rapeseed oil. Tornberg confidently says it’s nutritionally complete as it has high amounts of dietary starch and Vitamin C and can be considered a good source of protein.

Consumers in Sweden, China, and the United Kingdom can’t seem to get enough of it as the product has been flying off the shelves. Even Veg of Lund can’t seem to replenish stocks quickly enough. Market studies show that consumers like the product for its creamy texture and a considerably more subtle flavor than that of soy and oat milks.

A ‘more sustainable option’

Likewise, potato milk also has the advantage of being more sustainable to produce. Unlike other alt-milk crops like almonds, potatoes are easier to plant and cultivate and use up to 56 times less water. Aside from being water-efficient, they are also a land-efficient crop, as farmers can produce more potatoes per square meter.

To put things in perspective, it takes approximately 16,000 liters of water just to produce a kilo of almonds compared to just 270 liters used on potatoes. Many of the world’s commercial almond growers are also dependent on irrigation instead of rainwater. This can be challenging when a drought hits like the one currently impacting production among almond orchards in California.

Soy takes up significantly less water than almonds – around 2,500 liters per kilogram produced – but it has a devastating effect in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, clear-cutting spaces for growing soy tend to release more carbon and is also one of the reasons for deforestation in countries like Brazil where soy is a cash crop.

Check the label

That presents a powerful argument in favor of potato milk. However, Alissa Kendall, a professor of civil environmental engineering at the University of California-Davis, is quick to warn consumers that where and how your alt-milk was processed and packaged may also significantly impact the environment.

Kendall explains that the majority of plant-based milks are composed mostly of water, and consequently, there is “not much plant in the milk.” 

Moreover, issues such as packaging and shipping should be considered by the conscious consumer. She advises them to “check the label” to see whether the site where the milk was packaged is closer to where it’s being sold. If it is, then this would cut shipping costs and be “better for the environment.

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