Bean Scene Magazine, August 2020 issue
Almost a millennium before millennials walked the Earth, almond milk became popular in the 1100s as a non-animal food substitute during Lent. In the Middle Ages, many turned to it as a healthy and longer-lasting alternative to dairy.
While times have changed, The Alternative Dairy Co Café Trade Marketing Manager Marcus Fehlberg says the recent uptake of almond and other plant-based milks is for the same reasons.
“There’s two reasons plant-based milks are becoming more prevalent again. There’s the health and lifestyle benefits, and the other is that they’re better for the environment,” Marcus says.
The Alternative Dairy Co first introduced its soy and almond barista milks to the coffee industry in 2018, with its flagship Barista Oat Milk following in 2019. Marcus says the success of the oat milk has increased recognition of the brand and its other milks.
“It was timed well with the emergence of oat milk as an option in cafés towards the end of last year, and has had overwhelmingly positive feedback,” he says.
“Our almond milk has been around a bit longer, and with all of our products, we’re constantly listening to feedback from the market and consumers, and want to make them the best they can be.”
With increased attention and experience in coffee behind it, The Alternative Dairy Co has reformulated its Barista Almond Milk to improve its mouthfeel, creaminess, and the way it textures.
While the original recipe performed well, Marcus says The Alternative Dairy Co is always pushing the boundaries of how its plant-based milks work with coffee.
“We’re never resting on our laurels. We want our milks to be the go-to for the wider market. That means making sure they have a product that performs as expected every single time the barista pours it into a jug,” he says.
“It’s not really a substantial change in ingredients. We’ve just played with the ratios and adjusted levels to make a more robust almond milk and improve it when used with coffee.”
This means that The Alternative Dairy Co Barista Almond Milk still uses Australian-grown almonds, sourced from the Murray-Darling-based company Select Harvests. In fact, sourcing Australian ingredients is a priority for the brand, with its milks conceived and created on the NSW Central Coast.
“We want to support local farmers and the economy as much as we can. Being Australian made and owned is important, even more so with the COVID-19 pandemic,” he says.
“Australia’s also a long way from everywhere else, so it just makes sense to source locally wherever we can. We want to minimise our impact on the environment, which includes reducing carbon miles and not importing things from overseas when there are as good – if not better – ingredients available here in Australia.”