There’s no one best answer. Instead, consider how products made with each of these sources compare when choosing what to offer your guests.
Flavour. Function. Nutrients. Sustainability. So many options. How do you choose?
When it comes to picking the right plant-based product, taste and performance may be top of mind, but your final decision may come down to other factors, too. For example, sustainability is an urgent reason to use more plant-based products. The global food system is responsible for a third of global greenhouse gas emissions1, and unless people’s habits change, the environmental effects of the food system could reach levels beyond the planetary boundaries that are safe for humanity by 2050. 2
“A strong motivation for many people who drink plant-based milks instead of dairy milk is their potential benefits for the environment.” 3 However, even 100% plant-based products vary in sustainability. Farming each kind of crop takes varying amounts of water and land and releases a range of greenhouse gas emissions. There are tradeoffs for each choice, but overall, peas and soy score well on sustainability measures and have an established pipeline to the market, and chickpeas and fava look favorable for developing future products. Growing peas and other legumes that add nitrogen to the soil can also limit the use of chemical fertilizers, helping to contribute to a more stable climate. 4
But there are still other factors that may influence your choice. Dietary diversity, nutrient adequacy, and balanced energy intake are equally important. And while they don’t apply to everyone, food allergies are an important safety consideration, too. Finally, the accessibility and affordability of all options will play into your final decision because if you can’t find or afford an ingredient, it won’t end up in your kitchen or dining room.
WHOLE COW’S MILK
|3.3g Protein||3.3g Protein||2.6g Protein||1.3g Protein|
|60 Kcal||29 Kcal||43 Kcal||50 Kcal|
|3.2g Total fat||1.9g Total fat||1.5g Total fat||2.1g Total fat|
Allergen: None known
|Allergen: Soy||Allergen: Gluten|
|Established flavour and performance.||Very neutral taste with high protein & excellent foaming||High nutrient profile, neutral flavour, & good foaming||Certified gluten-free options are available|
|1.3 g Protein||0.6g Protein||0.3g Protein|
|75 Kcal||15 Kcal||47 Kcal|
|7.5g Total fat||1.1g Total fat||1.0g Total fat|
|Allergen: None known|
Allergen: Tree nut
|Allergen: None known|
|Exotic taste & creamy texture that won't water down.||Widely appreciated for its distinctive, nutty taste||Hypoallergenic with a neutral taste|
Samples arranged according to protein content.
Nutritional values per 100 ml5
1.Crippa, M. et al. Food systems are responsible for a third of global anthropogenic GHG emissions. Nature Food. 2021.
2. Springmann, M. Options for keeping the food system within environmental limits. Nature. 2018.
3. Jeske, S., et al. Past, present and future: The strength of plant-based dairy substitutes based on gluten-free raw materials. Food Research International, 2018.
4. Creating a sustainable food system | Accelerating Climate Action: Refocusing Policies through a Well-being Lens | OECD iLibrary (oecd-ilibrary.org)
5. FoodData Central (usda.gov) - USDA Food Database