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A Brief History of Alternative Milk and PureHarvest

Over the past few decades, there has been a growing demand for alternative milk products; with soy, almond and oat milk leading the charge. But where did these products come from, and how have they evolved over time?


The long history of alternative milk takes us back to ancient China where people have been drinking soy milk for thousands of years. Soy milk is made by soaking soybeans and grinding them with water to produce a liquid that looks and tastes similar to dairy milk. Soy milk was introduced to the United States in the early 1900s as a healthy option and was sold in health food stores as well as vegetarian restaurants.


In the 1940s, during World War II, soy milk became more popular in the United States due to a shortage of dairy milk. The government promoted soy milk as a substitute for dairy milk and many schools began serving it to their students. Soy milk continued to grow in popularity throughout the 1950s and 1960s as more people became interested in vegetarian and health foods.


Closer to home, PureHarvest started importing and distributing soy milk in Australia in the early 80s and by 1987 we became the first company to sell Australian made and grown soy milk. All under the name Aussie Soy! Let us know if you remember Aussie Soy.


Oat milk and rice milk might seem like a new fad to most but to us they’re ancient history. PureHarvest began producing and distributing rice milk and oat milk in 1992 and 1995–almost 30 years before they were considered ‘cool’ by the masses. In recent years, the popularity of alternative milks has exploded, and we couldn’t be happier that people are looking for and trying more plant-based options. Today, the alternative milk market is booming with a plethora of options available to consumers. Each type of milk has its own unique flavour, texture and nutritional profile, making it easy for people to find a milk product that fits their dietary needs, flavour preferences and lifestyle choices.


One of the main reasons alternative milk products have become so popular is due to the rise of plant-based diets. More and more people are turning to vegan and vegetarian diets for health, ethical and environmental reasons. Research shows that plant-based diets have been linked to helping lower the risk of heart disease, certain types of cancer as well as other health conditions.Another reason for the popularity of alternative milk products is the growing awareness of lactose intolerances and dairy allergies. Lactose intolerance is a common condition where people are unable to digest lactose–asugar found in dairy milk. Dairy allergies are alsocommon and can causehealth issues.


Alternative milk products have been around for a long time and are only going to continue to develop and expand. Here at PureHarvest, we have been pioneers in the space for more than 40 years and are always looking to the future and asking: “What’s next?”

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