With the vegan movement growing strong¹, it is no wonder that the vegan food brand, Oatly, has officially launched in Singapore and we got to try out this plant-based alternative to milk. According to new research² by Oatly in Singapore, a third of respondents have not heard of plant-based milk and nearly 73% of them are not familiar with its benefits. On a global scale, dairy milk consumption is holding steady but the consumption of milk alternatives is increasing year on year³.
So why drink plant-based milk and just how does it taste? We put its drinks range – Barista, Chocolate, Enriched to Organic; to the taste test and compared it with dairy as well as various types of nut milk.
Why drink plant-based milk?
In the survey, 13% of respondents think that plant-based milk is not nutritious enough while 10% said that they do not drink plant-based milk regularly because they were not vegans or vegetarians. However, these are some misconceptions.
The health perspective
Besides the vegans and vegetarians, those who are lactose intolerant or allergic to milk protein. But oat milk is also suitable for those who are concerned about plant estrogen as they have medical conditions such as PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and endometriosis.
Besides allergies or medical conditions, oat milk is a valuable and balanced source of many nutrients, including calcium, protein, vitamins, etc. Compared to other grains, oat is a particularly good source of soluble fibre, protein and naturally low in saturated fat which is beneficial to the body. Moreover, Oatly oat milk contains beta-glucan, which is an important nutrient in oats that helps lower the serum cholesterol in humans4. Plant-based milk also has no trans fat.
The environmental perspective
If you’re concerned about sustainability, then plant-based milk is a better option because when compared to dairy milk, producing oat drinks uses 79% less land, 60% less energy consumption and emits 80% less greenhouse gases. Which explains why 82% of young Singaporeans (aged 18-24) agreed that “drinking plant-based milk is a lifestyle statement about sustainability”.
How plant-based kinds of milk are made
Unlike what 41% of respondents think, plant-based milk is not made by adding artificial extracts to water. With regards to nut milk, nuts such as almonds, cashew and hazelnut are soaked in water, drained and then blended with filtered water before being strained. In the case of Oatly, their oat milk is made through enzymes that convert the fibre-rich oats into a liquid that still contains the beta-glucan fibres.
The taste test
Now, nobody is gonna continue consuming something that doesn’t taste great even if it were healthy. Unless it came in a pill form. So we took the trouble to try out ALL four Oatly drinks and compared them with various types of nut milk so that you can make an informed decision.
How we conducted the test
We used the oat milk and nut milk in a variety of ways that one would do so with dairy milk. We’re talking teas, coffee, cereals, Mac & Cheese as well as in smoothies. We also drank it on its own to give you a better comparison.
|Method/Type of milk||Oat Milk||Soy Milk||Almond Milk||Hazelnut Milk|
|Unadulterated||Tastes like diluted milk, although the Barista Oatly was creamier compared to the Enriched and Organic ranges.
The chocolate oat milk was delicious and the creamiest of the lot. Great to drink it hot with a pinch of cinnamon.
|Very beany flavour that we all enjoy.||Slightly creamier than soy and oat milks but has a slight nutty flavour that can be slighty on the ‘rancid’ side (depends on the brand).||The nuttiest of all nut milks. The creamy level is on par with oat milk but has a hazelnut after taste.|
|In tea or coffee||Very much like drinking normal milk tea or coffee. I wouldn’t have known that it wasn’t dairy!
Those who love their mochas might want to consider using the chocolate Oatly in their coffees.
|The soy taste is very strong. Works fine for matcha latte but not that great for the other teas and for coffee.||Generally, a more neutral flavour compared to soy and hazelnut but you still get a slight “this is not milk” signal to the brain.||Due to the hazelnut aftertaste, this does not work too well in teas but better in coffee.|
|Cereal||Brain: this is oat on oats!
Tongue: tastes like milk on oats!
|Again, the soy flavour is dominant. Which may go well with some cereals.||Not bad. Would bring out the flavours of any nuts that you may have added into your cereal.||Delicious! Tasted as if there was an extra sprinkling of hazelnuts.|
|Avocado milkshake||Tastes like a normal avocado milkshake.
The chocolate oat milk really made this very decadent.
|There was a slight soy flavour coming through, which isn’t too bad.||Tastes like a normal avocado milkshake.||Tastes like a normal avocado milkshake.|
|Mac & Cheese||Tastes like a normal Mac & Cheese.
(note: obviously, we didn’t use the chocolate oat milk here)
|No. Just no.||A slightly sweeter version of a Mac & Cheese. Maybe…not.||Don’t think about it. No.|
Verdict? If you enjoy the dairy milk and want a plant-based milk that closely resembles it in terms of flavour, then grab an Oatly!
Oatly is now available at Redmart, Amazon Prime SG, Cold Storage, Culina, Fairprice Finest, Giant, Sheng Siong, Takashimaya, Tangs Orchard and The Providore.
¹YouGov Profiles revealed in 2020 that two in five (39%) of Singaporeans are currently on a flexitarian diet.
²The survey was conducted in Singapore in September 2020 by IPSOS, an independent market research company with a sample size of 1,000 respondents.
³According to Euromonitor International, the sales of milk alternatives in 2019 was 7,738 tons and it is forecasted to exceed 8,170 tons by 2024.
4European Food Safety Authority. Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA); Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of a health claim related to oat beta-glucan and lowering blood cholesterol and reduced risk of (coronary) heart disease pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. EFSA Journal. 2010;8(12):1885.