Dr Evie Kemp, Haskapa Research Director
We’ve found that Haskapa Powder mixes brilliantly with alternative milks. With the rapid growth in veganism and vegetarianism, many of us are choosing to reduce or completely exclude cow’s milk in our diets. This has created a whole new market for a variety of alternative milks which is being embraced by consumers. For some this is down to ethical or environmental grounds. For others, eliminating milk and dairy products follows a diagnosis of lactose intolerance.
The science of lactose intolerance
Primary lactose intolerance occurs when our bodies lose the ability to produce enough lactase, the enzyme that breaks down a sugar called lactose into glucose and galactose.
All mammalian babies produce lactase in their small intestines to enable them to digest their mother’s milk. However, most mammals lose this ability once they are weaned. It is thought the capacity to digest lactose beyond childhood may have evolved in humans following domestication of cows for milk consumption.
The symptoms of lactose intolerance include bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and nausea which typically occur 30 minutes to two hours after eating lactose containing foods.
Humans are not the only ones that can suffer from these symptoms. Traditionally people left bowls of milk on their doorsteps to feed hedgehogs in their gardens. However, adult hedgehogs are also lactose intolerant and unfortunately drinking milk can give them diarrhoea. Surprisingly, adult cats have the same problem and feeding them cream can lead to an upset stomach. The cat who actually “got the cream” would likely only experience short-lived satisfaction before becoming unwell.
At Haskapa HQ we regularly add our Haskapa berry powder to cow’s milk to make a delicious drink. As Haskapa Powder is suitable for vegans, we decided to try out our berry powder with 4 different plant milks and experimented with hemp, almond, oat and pea.
Hemp milk is made from the seeds of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa which has been cultivated for thousands of years. Hemp is considered to be one of the few sources of complete plant protein. This means it contains all 9 essential amino acids that we need from food that our bodies cannot produce ourselves. It is also a plant source of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. Hemp milk has a nutty, slightly sweet taste.
Almond milk is made by blending almonds with water and then straining to remove the solids. It can also sometimes be made from almond butter. It is low in calories, protein, carbohydrates and fat compared to cow’s milk. This is because the almond content is very watered down, and some brands only contain 2% almonds. It has a creamy, nutty flavour that is quite similar to regular milk.
Oat milk is made by mixing oats and water and then straining the liquid. Oat milk contains more carbohydrates and fibre than cow’s milk but less protein and fat. Oats contain a soluble fibre called beta-glucan, which can help lower cholesterol levels as part of a healthy diet. According to the British Heart Foundation a 250ml glass of oat milk provides 1g of beta glucans (a bowl of porridge made with 40g of oats provides 2g of beta glucans). Oat milk has a sweet and mild flavour.
Pea milk is made from yellow split peas, is a creamy white (not green!) colour and has a silky, smooth taste. Pea milk contains around the same amount of protein as cow’s milk with less saturated fat. The Mighty Pea M.lk company claims that it takes 100 times more water to farm almonds than peas and 25 times more water to farm dairy.
Better than dairy milk?
Plant based milks offer many benefits to vegans, vegetarians, ethical consumers and those looking to avoid lactose. However, they do not contain all the nutrients found in cow’s milk and manufacturers are not required by law to add missing minerals and vitamins, though many companies do. We would therefore recommend taking a look at the nutrition labels to check what each alternative milk contains, including any added sugar.
Haskapa makes colourful shakes
Our Haskapa berry powder is delicious mixed with any of the new plant milks available, and creates colourful smoothies and shakes with a haskap anthocyanin and antioxidant boost.
Several people have asked why Haskapa berry powder created a variety of purple and red colour tones when mixed with the different plant milks. This is because the anthocyanins (plant pigments) in our haskap berries are sensitive to pH (acid or alkali) and change colour depending on the pH of the different alternative milks. Anthocyanins are red in the most acidic environment, become more purple-violet in a less acidic environment and then turn a yellow green colour in an alkali medium. If you are interested in finding out more you can create your own home pH indicator science experiment, see