Plant-based diets are set to be one of the biggest food and health trends this year, as aspirations for healthier lifestyles motivate us to prioritise fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains and botanicals.
According to Mintel’s latest Global Food and Drink Trends report, “Power to the Plants” is one of the six key food and drink trends for 2017, illustrating a 25 per cent increase in vegetarian product claims and a 257 per cent rise in vegan claims in global food and drink launches.
More than 463,000 New Zealanders now report they were “always” or “mostly” vegetarian, an increase of 27 percent in the last four years.
The rise of the ‘flexitarian’ lifestyle sees people looking to vegan or vegetarian products as an occasional drink, snack or meal, rather than as part of a total diet overhaul, experimenting with simple swaps and additions to their diet.
Some of the standouts of this rising plant-based trend are nut milks like almond milk and coconut milk, which have grown 24% in New Zealand over last 12 months, perhaps because they can be easily integrated into everyday lifestyles.
Following a legislation change last year, several nut milks on the market are now fortified with vitamins, including vitamins B12 and B2, and provide over a third of daily calcium needs per 250mL serve (just like light dairy).
As well as the delicious nutty taste, almond milk has 1/3 less calories than light dairy milk and is free from cholesterol, lactose, gluten and dairy, making it a healthy and versatile option for many flexitarians.
The best dairy-free milk for you will depend on your overall diet and the amount of calcium, protein, B12 and fat you're getting from other foods.
In response to the growing plant-based eating trend, many influential health and fitness personalities are embracing vegetarian and vegan recipes to share with their audiences, as evidenced by foodie blogs and Instagram accounts country-wide.
Check out these simple recipes using dairy-free milks.