From the dairy case: Is Ripple milk the one for me?

 
Pea Milk is more environmentally friendly than dairy or almond milk, but how does it taste? Photo: Popsugar 

Pea Milk is more environmentally friendly than dairy or almond milk, but how does it taste? Photo: Popsugar 

Reporter: Kate Marx
Location: Champaign-Urbana, Illinois
Product: Ripple Milk, by Ripple Foods
What she said: I’ll definitely add it to the rotation of plant-based milks I buy. That said, it’s not a perfect substitute for dairy milk

I've always been a picky eater and, having grown up in New York, I’m fairly food-spoiled. A few years ago I moved to a midwestern college town on a whim and happened to luck out tremendously in terms of the food landscape.

Champaign-Urbana is home to a vegan restaurant, multiple craft breweries, and restaurants specializing in all manner of ethnic cuisine. Many area eateries boast menus crafted with ingredients sourced from sustainably run local farms, and agritourism events at Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery connect us with our local farmers and quadruped neighbors. 

"It's free of nuts, soy, gluten...in addition to being kosher and vegan. So basically anyone can drink this stuff."

– KATE MARX

My diet is mostly plant-based though I do occasionally make exceptions for eggs laid by happy chickens I know personally. When Stone Pier Press asked me to look into plant-based milks, I’d already tried Ripple, a non-dairy milk made with protein harvested from yellow peas.

According to research provided by Ripple Foods, pea milk requires 25 times less water to produce than dairy milk while creating nearly 75% less greenhouse gas emissions. Each 8 ounce serving of Ripple milk contains 8 grams of protein, the same amount found in 2% dairy milk -but with half the sugar, almost twice the calcium, and more iron and Vitamin D. It’s free of nuts, soy, gluten, GMO’s, carrageenans, and lactose, in addition to being kosher and vegan. So basically anyone can drink this stuff.

Ripple is only the latest plant-based milk to hit the shelves. Its bottles are made from 100% post-consumer recycled PET plastic.

So here's how it tastes

I bought a 48 ounce bottle at Target for $4.29, which is financially doable for an overprivileged, single professional who doesn’t use a lot of milk. I’m not sure if that price would fly for a single mom or a family of five, though.

For comparison I tried the original flavor, the unsweetened original, and the half & half. With their thick texture, and sweet, nutty flavor, the original and half & half were great in coffee, smoothies, and oatmeal, but didn’t really hold up in a cream sauce or latte. The unsweetened version, while sweet-smelling, tasted more akin to, -perhaps a smoothie made of chalk and spit. 

Is perfect milk just ahead?

What I’m really looking forward to trying in the near(ish) future are products made with Perfect Day dairy proteins. This animal-free dairy company creates the same proteins found in dairy milk (casein and whey) by feeding responsibly sourced sugar to genetically engineered yeast in a fermentation process that yields dairy proteins. All dairy proteins then go through a filtration process to ensure no residual yeast makes it into products.

This method of creating clean, genuine dairy products requires less land, water, and energy than traditional dairy farming. It also produces less greenhouse gas emissions and is infinitely more humane.

Perfect Day has stated that to achieve maximum reach, it plans to develop products in collaboration with existing food and dairy companies. While the company has not yet revealed what products we can expect first, we believe we'll know a lot more in the coming year. Personally, I’m hoping clean butter will be among the first products to roll out.

Takeaway: Ripple products are easy to find, reasonably priced for my purposes, and very nutritious compared to other non-dairy milks. I like that the logo kind of looks like it says ‘nipple’, and I’ll definitely add it to the rotation of plant-based milks I buy. That said, it’s not a perfect substitute for dairy milk. 

We've put together a chart that highlights meatless burgers we love, the ETA for clean meat and clean milk (real meat and milk without the animal), and suggestions for meatless chicken, turkey, and dairy-free cheese and milk. Definitely worth a visit. We've put together a chart that highlights meatless burgers we love, the ETA for clean meat (real meat without the animal), and suggestions for meatless chicken, turkey, and dairy-free cheese and milk options. Definitely worth a visit.