Elmhurst Dairy first opened its doors during the 1920s, and grew to be one of the largest dairy companies on the East Coast. Located in Queens, New York, the company has been supplying the metropolitan area with cows’ milk for nearly one hundred years — until now.
As the need for cows’ milk continues to wane, Elmhurst has chosen to reinvent themselves as a plant-based milk company. CEO Henry Schwartz says, “Pasteurized fluid milk has sort of gone out of style.” He went on to explain, “We are unable to continue to go on without ongoing losses. There isn’t much room for our kind of business. I tried to keep this open because it was my father’s plant and he asked me to do so.”
The rebirth of Elmhurst Dairy as a plant-based milk company comes with a slight name change; the company will now be going by just Elmhurst. The company website describes their nutmilks as “minimally processed” and says that their milks do not contain the emulsifiers, thickeners or stabilizers that are often used in other brands. This is good news for people interested in clean eating and foods free of junk additives. Their new line of plant-based products is called “Milked,” and it looks like their new horizon is going to be a tasty one.
Their offerings consist of four different varieties: almond, cashew, walnut and hazelnut — and they’re all vegan-friendly. Schwartz says that their plant milks have “up to four times more nuts per serving than the other leading brands.”
Alternative milks are a growing market
Elmhurst is making the switch to plant-based milks at the right time; the market for dairy alternatives is growing at a fast pace and keeping up with the times is essential. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated in 2011 that across the globe, dairy milk consumption had gone down by almost 50 percent since the 1980s, marking a drastic shift in consumer interests.
In 2014, the global market for plant-based milks reached a high of $5.8 billion, but it seems that is only the beginning. Estimates suggest that the alternative milk market will reach up to $10.9 billion by 2019.
Plant-based milk alternatives have been seeing a steady increase in popularity over the last few years. More people are becoming vegan, and more are becoming concerned about the unethical practices that come with conventional dairy products — as well as the use of antibiotics and growth hormones in dairy cows.
Why choose plant-based milks?
There are many reasons why one might choose to opt for plant-based milks over conventional dairy milks, including personal, ethical or health concerns. Alternative milks often come with a number of nutritional benefits that dairy milks simply can’t compete with.
For example, nut-based milks are much lower in sugar than conventional dairy milk. Dairy milk contains an average of 13 to 16 grams of sugar in just one serving, thanks to it’s natural sugar known as lactose. Plant-based milks are substantially lower in sugar and consequently, are less likely to cause a blood sugar spike. Dairy milk also means hormones. Even milks that are free of added hormones may still come with naturally occurring hormones that can stimulate the production of insulin growth factor (IGF-1). IGF-1 has been linked to cancer and other diseases. Conventional dairy milk has even been linked to diabetes.
Plant-based milks are often also lower in calories than their conventional dairy counterparts. Choosing an unsweetened nut milk is the best way to keep the calories and sugar content at an absolute minimum. Even low-calorie milk alternatives can be quite satisfying and are a great option for anyone looking to make the switch.
For people with lactose intolerance, nut milks are a clear choice because they are easier to digest. Many people with other types of digestive issues or disorders often find that switching to plant-based milks helps to alleviate some of their discomfort.
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