Dairy-free Milk Innovations. Part II

“Everyone is looking for functional drinks”,

Said the CEO of the California Dairy Advisory Board (CMAB) John Talbot at the opening of the Real California Milk Accelerator competition to identify new milk uses with real commercial potential, sponsored by Venture Fuel.

Each competition finalist received up to $ 25,000 to finalize a product prototype for the competition, and the top winner received an additional $ 250,000 support, including access to packaging, logistics and marketing experts to help them develop a new product-to-market strategy.

It’s interesting to explore the shortlisted contest nominees promoting everything from whey protein-containing probiotic drinks to delicious dessert-based dairy drinks. An interesting fact is that all participants in the competition are small industry players who already sell similar products to local consumers. For them, participation in the dairy competition is an opportunity to scale up their production and bring innovative dairy products to the federal level.

The People’s Choice Award went to Stuyt Dairy Creamery, a fifth-generation farmer family from the Netherlands. They created Dessertables, a custard-like vacuum bag product. It is based on a traditional Dutch recipe and is made in small batches. Thanks to the victory in the competition, we should expect it to appear on the shelves of retail stores soon.


Bears Nutrition is a nutritious milk drink for active kids. The manufacturer properly answered the question «What should children drink?» It is just a delicious long shelf life milk drink that contains about 90% milk and uses lactase instead of lactose to help reduce the amount of added sugar.

Each bottle of Bears contains 170 calories, 10 grams of protein, nine essential vitamins and minerals, and a dose of omega-3 fatty acids, a formula that provides the most important building blocks for growth and development. According to a company founded by a pediatrician, Olympic gold medalist and former energy venture capitalist, the sugar content of the drink (15 grams) is 30% lower than fruit juice, yet sweet enough to please kids. Whey and casein are added to increase the protein content. And that is really delicious.

Those who have been working in the dairy industry for a long time remember Perq Plus Concept from Allpur Nutrition Inc. Lightly carbonated fruit milk drinks appeared 20 years ago — long before their time.

Perq Plus, developed by husband and wife George and Mary Ann Clarke, a chemist and registered nurse-pediatric nutritionist, is lactose-free and has a number of patents. The product was approved for inclusion in the school lunch program and a number of retailers and distributors are now interested in supplying KEB refrigerated product with a 72-day shelf life.

Good Citizens Collagen Lattes are ready-to-drink lattes with a long shelf life. The product contains 55% milk and is enriched with collagen, which is known to support joint strength as well as healthy skin, hair, and nails. The drink not only contains milk and additional collagen protein, but also provides energy from natural caffeine. Each can contains 1.5 cups of brewed coffee.

Good Citizens collagen-infused ready-to-drink latte perfectly demonstrates how you can compete with the improved coffee drinks currently on the market.

NAICHA Milk Tea is a ready-to-drink probiotic tea with 50% of milk, fortified with vitamins. The organic drink is available in three flavors: Orange Peko Black Tea, Lavender Earl Gray and Jasmine Green Tea.

Nutraberry is a dairy flavored drink made from processed berry seeds in the best traditions of Upcycled Foods. Berry seeds add flavor, color, fiber, and protein to the product. There are sweet and savory varieties of blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries.

Thai Star Thai Iced Tea is a ready-to-drink RTD version of a popular dairy drink that was previously sold exclusively in bars and restaurants, as making real Thai iced tea is a laborious process. This drink is made of black tea from Thailand and milk and includes a number of spices such as star anise, turmeric, cinnamon and cardamom.

There is enough space for everyone in this segment. The above-mentioned Nestlé is launching a dairy product for the elderly in the Middle Kingdom, consisting of a unique combination of ingredients that support the three pillars of mobility: bone health, muscle strength and joint function.

YIYANG Active clinically proven powdered milk drink is the first Nestlé product to be approved for use as a functional food in China.


The following company deserves a special mention. Israeli startup Remilk dairy production does not involve cows.

If meat can be grown in a test tube, why can’t milk be made the same way? Remilk produces completely identical dairy products in laboratories through microbial fermentation using a patented technology to reproduce the properties of milk proteins. This process recreates these proteins and even optimizes their functionality over animal equivalents.

Remilk is the first dairy product of its kind made in a laboratory without the participation of animals. It is indistinguishable from natural dairy products and is required to develop an authentic taste and texture for dairy products such as cheese, yogurt and cream, without cow’s milk.

Remilk products are free of cholesterol and lactose, antibiotics and growth hormones. The company says it is far more sustainable than traditional dairy farms. It needs only 1% of land, 4% of raw materials and 10% of water for the development of production,. Whereas traditional dairy industries require more than 1000 liters of water to produce just one liter of milk, and livestock production causes about 14.5-18% of greenhouse gas emissions — more than the entire global automotive industry.

Apparently, lab milk will become a favorite topic of investors seeking a multi-billion dollar industry. Remilk has received an investment of $ 11.3 million last year from a pool of investment funds and companies, including the traditional dairy company Hochland, which «sees the enormous potential of fermented proteins and is ready to seize this exciting opportunity to develop innovative and sustainable dairy products.»

Dairy chips

This is not milk in the form we are used to, although they are 50% derived from cow’s milk. It is these startups that make breakthrough technologies in such a rather conservative industry, creating the very same 1% of completely new products.

WheyUp Probiotic Kefir Krisps are chips made from creamy kefir Labne — a healthy probiotic cheese and yoghurt snack rich in vitamins and calcium with Mediterranean herbs and lemon zest. It does not contain sugar and keeps all active probiotic cultures of kefir in chips throughout the year.

Another California-based startup, Fahris LLC, inspired by a historic Mediterranean recipe, is also poised to bring to market yogurt chips made from cow’s milk, which is first converted to prebiotic-rich yogurt and then blended with crushed wheat and thyme. The end product is a snack high in protein and fiber, enzymes and probiotics. Work on the product is still underway, but the company has already applied for the registration of the YOGHURT CHIPS BY FAHRISH trademark.

Dairy market is a fairly wide segment for ideas: chips, milk without cows, dairy and fermented milk products. Consumers are interested in drinks that enrich their body with essential vitamins and elements, and is tasty and mobile to take with them.