The Consumer Education Project of Milk SA

What is the difference in the nutritional composition of cow’s milk and plant-based alternatives to milk?

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Product type/source per cup (250 ml)Energy (kJ)Protein (g)Total carbohydrates (g)Of which added sugar (g)Fat (g)Calcium (mg)Sodium (mg)
Cow’s milk full-cream6458,311,80,08,3298123
Cow’s milk fat free3658,312,00,00,3308130
Soy milk (sweetened)  4967,88,36,05,4139168
Soy milk (unsweetened)3947,75,51,65,023097
Oats milk (sweetened)5912,819,49,86,0238  94
Oats milk (unsweetened)3852,012,52,33,8265  133
Almond milk (sweetened)2981,39,29,33,1321135
Almond milk (unsweetened)2581,44,61,44,728691
Coconut milk (sweetened)934  1,711,88,219,231671
Coconut milk (unsweetened)11342,37,43,825,832364
Rice milk (unsweetened)5700,428,013,63,028071

*Source of the composition of plant-based beverages: Milk SA report on plant-based imitation dairy beverages sold in the South African retail market. September 2020.

Note: Most sampled plant-based beverages contain stabilisers and are fortified. It is advisable to read the labels of each brand to determine the specific fortification that is applicable. At present there is no regulation stipulating the nutritional requirement for plant-based imitation dairy beverages.

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