Could Potato Milk Be the Next Plant-Based Favorite?
Europe is getting a brand new plant-based milk from an unconventional ingredient–potatoes. The Swedish milk brand DUG will launch domestically in Original, Unsweetened, and Barista variations, but soon after will become available on Amazon in the United Kingdom. The new plant-based milk is the product of a partnership between the parent company Veg of Lund with Professor Eva Tornberg at Lund University.
“We have a good product that we are proud of,” Veg of Lund CEO Thomas Olander said. “Our choice to use potatoes as a base means that we have a super-sustainable drink. Potatoes don’t need much to grow at all, making them a super-sustainable crop compared to others like soybeans, almonds, or oats. Not to mention dairy products.”
The DUG potato-based milk will be enhanced by vitamin B12 and other essential minerals, making it one of the front-running nutritional milk alternatives on the market. The DUG product also contains pea protein, rapeseed oil, and chicory fiber in the formulation. The potato-based milk also advertises itself as extremely allergen-friendly. DUG does not contain soy, gluten, added sugar, and lactose.
DUG is also marketing its products towards coffee shops, saying that the product foams similarly to dairy milk. The foaming quality will make the milk alternative perfect for specialty drinks like lattes and cappuccinos.
The brand is a champion for sustainability, aiming to bring a more sustainable option to the plant-based market. The company’s production methods use half the land required to grow oats and 56 timeless water than almonds. This comparison puts potato-based milk at the front of its plant-based milk competitors.
DUG is not the first company to use the unconventional milk alternative base. Vegan brand Veggemo released a plant-based milk that mixed potatoes, pea protein, and cassava root in 2015. The company began distribution then eventually expanded to the United States and China before closing due to bankruptcy. Another company, spearheaded by Australian entrepreneur Andrew Dyh, developed a vegan cheese from potatoes called Chato in 2016.
A report commissioned by Instacart discovered that more Americas choose to buy non-dairy milk alternatives than ever before. The report released last may observe the shopping trends surrounding non-dairy milk and creamers to show that plant-based consumption is still rapidly rising. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, online shopping has helped make several plant-based products more easily available. The increased accessibility coincides with the rising environmental and health awareness occurring worldwide, turning consumer attention to better options than animal-based products.
“Searches for terms like ‘plant-based,’ ‘meatless,’ vegetarian,’ and especially ‘vegan’ took off on Instacart as consumers looked for healthy at-home meals during 2020 lockdowns,” says Laurentia Romaniuk, Instacart's Trends Expert and Senior Product Manager. “And this trend is turning into a long-term lifestyle — search popularity has been growing even more in 2021.”
With sustainable and experimental options like DUG entering the market, the dairy industry is seeing the effects of the plant-based shift. A report released earlier this year from the USDA shows that the increasing sales of plant-based milk are cutting into the sales of cow’s milk. The Economic Research Service report showed that dairy milk’s decline by 12 percent coinciding with plant-based milk sales rising 36 percent between 2013 to 2017. DUG’s entrance into the plant-based market joins a diverse and rapidly expanding new vegan, cruelty-free market.