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Plant Based Milk – Is it the Future?

It really wasn’t that long ago that when you wanted a coffee anywhere outside the home your choice was coffee with milk, or without. These days, you can often be spoilt for choice when it comes to milk, with even the smaller hospitality establishments and many vending machines offering at least one of a wide range of plant based milks as an alternative to the traditional cow’s milk.

Plant based milk was once seen as the “hippy” alternative, usually only requested by vegetarians or vegans, but as more people are diagnosed as lactose intolerant or with an allergy to dairy, or want to buy more sustainably, the hospitality industry, including many of our Vending Sense customers, have adapted to offer customers a wider range of milks and enhance the customer experience.

Why consider the swap?

Over the last couple of years, we have been told on an increasing basis that it is vital that we take steps to look at the way in which we are damaging the planet and make the right steps to at least slow down the rate at which the damage is occurring. A recent study has estimated that compared to plant based milk, dairy is around three times more greenhouse gas emission-intensive. Any plant based milk, whether it is made from nuts, beans, seeds or oats has a significantly lighter impact in terms of water and land use as well compared to dairy. The global warming potential of cow’s milk ranges from 1.14 to around 2.50 in comparison to 0.42 for coconut or almond milk and 0.75 for soy milk.


Whilst many people choose to make the swap for health reasons, whether this is because they believe plant based milk to be healthier, for dietary reasons, or because of allergies, doing so can have a positive impact on the planet.

The choices

Plant based milk is not a new fad; there is evidence to suggest that both almond and soy milk have been around for centuries. Centuries ago, almonds were crushed, soaked in water and strained through a cloth to provide an alternative to milk. Although, due to the cost of almonds this was something that was only enjoyed by the wealthy.

Soy milk can be traced back as far as 14th century China and has been commercially produced since 1917. It has been widely available all over the world since the 1980s.

More and more machines are now becoming equipped to be able to produce. Soon it will be normal to request an oat latte from your office coffee machine.

Will you give it a try?

If you have never tasted plant milk it is worth giving it a chance, there is a distinct difference in taste and consistency, between the different milks but they make great substitutes. With concerns over the environment growing all the time it looks likely that plant based milk may well be the way forward in the future. From your morning coffee to the ‘milk’ you splash on your cereal, you could still enjoy your favourite foods and drinks, but switch to a more sustainable way to enjoy them. And if you’re a business looking to offer your workers a more sustainable choice, there are a multitude of vending machine options to allow you to do so.