Goat's Milk and Plant-Based Milks: Healthy Dairy Alternatives

Goat's Milk and Plant-Based Milks: Healthy Dairy Alternatives

Within the ever-changing realm of dietary health, dairy consumption has become a hot topic. A substantial number of US consumers, consciously opting for healthier options, have started distancing themselves from cow-derived dairy and looking for alternatives to dairy. One alternative gaining more traction is goat’s milk, mainly due to its beneficial properties. In fact, according to Report Linker, the worldwide market for goat milk products is anticipated to grow to an impressive $17 billion by 2028.

Goat's Milk Benefits

There's a multitude of reasons why goat milk stands out as a healthier choice, and its ease of digestion sits at the top of the list. Lactose, a type of sugar in milk, poses a hurdle for those with lactose intolerance so it is in this scenario that goat milk shines through, with its lower lactose content compared to cow's milk.

But that's not all—goat milk also serves as a generous supplier of medium-chain fatty acids, a type of fat our bodies can quickly digest and absorb. The fatty acids in goat milk are shorter than those in cow's milk, which further eases the digestive process. Plus, goat milk has a lower concentration of casein, a protein that can be tricky to digest and could even trigger allergic reactions in some folks.

In terms of nutrition, goat milk packs a punch in this department, offering a higher nutritional value than cow's milk. It is a treasure trove of vital vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamin B2, phosphorus, potassium, and even more vitamins A and C than you'd find in cow's milk.

Protein-wise, goat milk holds its own, offering a comparable amount to that found in cow's milk. However, the protein present in goat milk is more digestible, making it an ideal choice for those grappling with digestive concerns. Goat milk also boasts a higher concentration of the essential amino acid tryptophan, crucial for our body's growth and development.

Whey Protein from Goat’s Milk

Whey protein is a favored ingredient among those keen on muscle building and overall health improvement. Most whey protein supplements use cow's milk as a source, but goat milk emerges as a superior choice. Why, you ask? The whey protein from goat milk is easier to digest, thanks to its lower levels of lactose and casein. This means that even individuals who struggle with digesting cow's milk might find whey protein from goat milk agreeable.

The bioavailability of whey protein from goat milk, referring to our body's capacity to absorb and utilize a nutrient, outshines that from cow's milk. The proteins in goat milk bear a closer resemblance to those in human milk than in cow's milk, enhancing their usability by the body.

Last but not least, whey protein derived from goat milk offers a higher nutritional value than its cow's milk counterpart. Not only is the rich assortment of vitamins and minerals in goat milk present in its whey protein form, but it also boasts a higher concentration of the essential amino acid leucine, instrumental in muscle building.

Plant-Based Milk Alternatives: The Rising Stars

Cow's milk alternatives have been rapidly becoming a trend, with plant-based milk alternatives gaining popularity. According to Food Navigator, these non-dairy milk alternatives are anticipated to contribute billions more to sales this year, marking an all-time high. 

Let's delve into some of the frontrunners:

  1. Almond Milk: An upsurge in its popularity is attributed to its delightful flavor and health benefits. Lower in sugar and calories, this nut milk a great option for weight-watchers. A 2020 report by Statista crowned almond milk as America's preferred milk substitute, boasting sales exceeding $1.5 billion.
  2. Oat Milk: A creamy and sweet milk alternative, oat milk is great for those with allergies to nuts or soy. It is made from blending oats and water and is high in fiber, which can help lower cholesterol levels. A Statista report pointed out a staggering 686% growth in US sales between 2016 and 2020, culminating in a $213 million turnover in 2020.
  3. Soy Milk: A staple in the non-dairy landscape, soy milk is rich in protein and contains less sugar and fat compared to cow's milk. A survey by the International Food Information Council revealed that 36% of US consumers embraced soy milk as a preferred dairy substitute in 2020.
  4. Coconut Milk: Another member of the non-dairy alternatives, coconut milk offers a creamy texture and a sweet, nutty taste. However, due to its high saturated fat content, it may not be an ideal choice for those seeking weight loss. However, it's an excellent source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), which are readily convertible to energy by the body. Nielsen's report indicated a 17.5% uptick in US sales in 2020, culminating in over $52 million.
  5. Rice Milk: As a nut, soy, and gluten-free option, rice milk presents an excellent alternative for those grappling with allergies. It does, however, rank low on the protein scale and high on carbohydrates, making it less suitable for individuals with diabetes. Nevertheless, according to SPINS, the US sales for rice milk touched $10.5 million in 2020.

Bottom Line

There's an array of excellent dairy substitutes available, each touting unique flavors and nutritional attributes. Whether you're scouting for a low-calorie contender like almond milk, a creamy delight like oat milk, or a protein-rich champion like soy milk or goat's milk, there's a perfect milk alternative waiting for you. As awareness around health and environmental implications continues to surge, it's plausible that we'll witness even more milk alternatives gracing our grocery shelves in the future.

Want to do more in the dairy alternative space? Work with YouBar to create a new food product featuring goat's milk or another dairy alternative.