About Plant Milk


Oat milk, almond milk, soy milk… plant milk has become a popular beverage in recent years. However, some people may mistakenly think that “oat milk” is a mixture of oat and milk, and “almond milk” is a mixture of almonds and milk. In fact, plant milk does not contain milk. So, what exactly is plant milk? What should we keep in mind when storing and drinking it?


What is plant milk?

Plant milk is a beverage with a texture and colour that resemble milk which is produced with raw materials such as cereals, beans, nuts and other high-protein plants that are crushed, soaked, ground, filtered, homogenised and sterilised through processing procedures. Some starch-based plant milk (e.g. rice milk and oat milk) has a thick consistency. Food manufacturers will add enzymes to improve the liquidity and consistency of the drink by breaking down the starch during the manufacturing process. They may also add fats, nutrients and food additives to plant milk beverages based on market demand to improve the texture and flavour of the beverages, so as to meet consumer preferences.


Store in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions

Although plant milk beverages do not contain milk, they are rich in nutrients like dairy milk and meet conditions for bacterial growth. Therefore, to destroy pathogenic bacteria and reduce deterioration, processed plant milk must be sterilised by pasteurisation or ultra-high-temperature processing at the last stage.


Differences between pasteurisation and ultra-high-temperature processing:


Ultra-high-temperature processing (UHT)

Sterilisation process

Heated for a short period of time

(Heated at 72°C~75°C for 15~30 seconds)

Heated at a high temperature for a very short time

(Heated at 135°C~150°C for 2~3 seconds)


Store in refrigerator

(below 5°C)

Room temperature, avoid exposure to sunlight

(keep refrigerated after opening)

Shelf life




Heat processing can prolong the shelf life of plant milk, as well as enhance the taste. As with milk, pasteurised plant milk must be refrigerated below 5°C. However, whether pasteurised or processed at ultra-high-temperature, opened plant milk beverages must be consumed as soon as possible or stored in a refrigerator in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.


Caution for people with food allergies

In addition, plant milk is different from milk in terms of nutrition and composition. For example, oat milk is considered a type of “whole grain” food which is rich in dietary fibre and its main nutrients are carbohydrates. Soy milk, commonly known as soybean milk, is a type of “soy product” mainly providing protein. While milk is also a type of “dairy product” which mainly provides protein, it is also a good source of calcium. Plant milk provides a variety of options for people with different dietary and health needs, particularly for individuals who are lactose intolerant. Nevertheless, it is crucial to note that plant milk may contain allergenic elements not found in milk, such as soybeans, cereals and nuts. In order to avoid adverse reactions, people with food allergies should read the labels on the packaging carefully to learn about the ingredients before purchase.


Tips for consumers:

  1. Purchase from reputable and hygienic stores;
  2. Pay attention to the expiry date and see whether the packaging is intact;
  3. Read the ingredients on the labels carefully to avoid purchasing products that may cause adverse reactions, especially for people with food allergies;
  4. Drink or store in the refrigerator as soon as possible after opening, and store in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions;
  5. Lastly, we should maintain a balanced diet to ensure that our bodies can absorb the different nutrients required to stay healthy.