With the explosion of non-dairy products hitting the market in the mid-2010s, the rise of dairy alternatives has become much more mainstream than ever before. With this increase in popularity comes many questions around non-dairy alternatives, and which ones to add to the menu of your cafe, coffee shop or restaurant.
If you’ve been wondering how you can utilize non-dairy milk in your commercial kitchen, then read on to find out more.
What is Non-Dairy Milk?
While pretty self-explanatory, non-dairy milk does not come from cows, making them the perfect option for those who cannot consume dairy or lactose. Usually plant- or nut-based, milk alternatives are popular add-ons for cafes and restaurants who serve coffee concoctions.
Popular Non-Dairy Milk Options
There is a large variety of non-dairy milk alternative options out there nowadays, and each one is unique in its own right. However, out of all the variations, there are several that are popular, including:
- Oat Milk—Incredibly popular right now, oat milk is rich and creamy, making it perfect for coffee. A perfect alternative for customers who are allergic to nuts and/or prefer whole milk.
- Soy Milk—A classic milk alternative, soy milk can add a bit of sweetness to a beverage and foams well.
- Almond Milk—Adds a slight nutty flavor to drinks, but can separate if foamed.
- Coconut Milk—Provides a distinctly strong flavor and thick texture.
Other burgeoning milk alternatives include:
- Rice Milk
- Cashew Milk
- Hemp Milk
Why Should You Offer Milk Alternatives?
Though initially it may have seemed like a passing fad, non-dairy milk is now here to stay. Because they’re much more ubiquitous nowadays, a whole section of the market has opened up, allowing restaurants and cafes to serve all of their customers what they need and want. Though offering non-dairy milk isn’t a requirement, there are many benefits to doing so.
For starters, offering non-dairy milk options enhances the customer experience for those who have dietary limitations, whether that’s lactose intolerance and dairy allergies, or lifestyle restrictions like veganism or non-dairy consumers. Having non-dairy alternatives also gives customers agency to fully customize their beverage to suit these limitations, or to simply try something new.
Some non-dairy milk options are also nutritious, sporting high-protein or extra potassium, so if your establishment is health-focused, this is a great selling point.
Finally, an often overlooked benefit to serving non-dairy options lets you stand out from other coffee shops and restaurants, especially if they don’t serve any of these milk alternatives.
How to Choose Which Non-Dairy Option to Serve in Your Restaurant
Since there are so many options out on the market today, it can be difficult to determine which ones you’ll serve in your establishment. THis is where careful research and maybe some experimentation will come in handy. Each milk alternative acts differently when processed for coffee drinks, so it’s important for you and your staff to know how to handle the various characteristics of each before adding one—or several—to a menu.
Additionally, when choosing milk alternatives to serve, it’s important to consider the allergy risk of one over the other. Nut-based milks will not be suitable for customers with nut allergies, and there are others who are sensitive to soy. It’s important to have a balance of options to suit each customer’s unique dietary and lifestyle requirements if you’re going to add milk alternatives to your menu.