- Elmhurst Milked, a plant-based milk manufacturer that was formally a traditional dairy, will add peanut milk to its product portfolio in early 2018, according to Food Navigator. The company currently offers almond, cashew, hazelnut and walnut milk, and will roll out brown rice and oat milk varieties next year.
- Both the plain and chocolate version of the peanut milk will be made without emulsifiers, gums and stabilizers typically used to create a creamier mouthfeel. The milks are created using a "cold milling" process that yields a consistency that is similar to real milk, as well more protein, a shorter ingredients list and less sugar.
- An eight ounce serving of peanut milk has six times more protein and five grams less sugar than category leaders Silk and Almond Breeze. When added to hot beverages, the product will feather or marble due to its lack of additives.
When taking a look at the ever-expanding plant-based milk cooler in a typical supermarket, peanut has been noticeably absent.
Peanut milk may have been left out of the dairy aisle because it’s a well-known allergen for many consumers. Peanuts were the most commonly identified food causing a life-threatening allergic reaction, according to a recent study. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports food allergies rose 18% among children between 1997 and 2006. It’s no surprise that manufacturers have decided against investing R&D into such a risky ingredient — until now.
Peanut milk has some nice benefits that may help balance out the challenge it faces as a common allergen. It has a creamy mouthfeel attained without the use of emulsifiers, gums and stabilizers. If a consumer is checking out the ingredients for peanut milk, they’ll find just five listed: filtered water, peanuts, cane sugar, natural flavors and salt. Compared to the average almond milk, this list is quite short and easy to pronounce. This is an especially attractive quality, as consumers continue to scrutinize ingredients and favor clean labels.
One potential challenge: The product has more than twice the calories, coming in at 150 per eight ounce serving compared to the 60 calories found in Almond Breeze and Silk.
From an environmental standpoint, peanut milk production is far kinder to the environment than the industry-leader almond milk. It takes fewer than five gallons of water to grow one ounce of peanuts. That’s a small fraction compared to the 80 gallons it takes to produce one ounce of almonds, although experts note that their water efficiency has improved in recent years.
As demand for plant-based milk increases, there could very well be a market for peanut milk. Consumers may wish to have different types of plant-based milk for different purposes. One to splash in a morning coffee, another to have with cereal and a third to use in cooking. Until this market reaches a saturation point, expect to see more upstarts experiment with new ingredients to find the next big flavor.