First peanut milk... next protein shakes and ice cream? 'The sky is really the limit...'

Peanut milk delivers higher protein and a cleaner label in plant-based milk segment, says Elmhurst Milked

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Milk

Elmhurst Milked peanut milk - which has the protein content and creamy mouthfeel of dairy milk without the thickeners, emulsifiers and stabilizers deployed in most plant-based beverages - could form a base ingredient in protein shakes, yogurts and frozen desserts, says product manager Kimberly Behzadi.

Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA at the Specialty Food Association’s Winter Fancy Food Show last month, Behzadi said: “With the protein in these varieties of peanuts being so high, maybe we’ll go with peanut protein shakes next.

“Yogurt is another thing we’re going to do a lot of research on.”

While Elmhurst Milked’s technology and machinery is set up for manufacturing beverages, there are lots of opportunities to explore other products with co-packers if consumers ask for them, she added. “I personally think that the milked peanuts would be fantastic as an great ice cream base, but really the sky is the limit.”

There are also opportunities to experiment with different peanut varieties, she said.

“These first two products feature red runner peanuts, but I’m learning from the National Peanut Board that there are peanuts from all over…. Maybe we’ll do a honey roasted peanut, maybe we’ll work with Valencia peanuts?”

Peanuts mean protein…

Elmhurst Milked’s peanut milk occupies a distinct position in the plant-based milk space by delivering more protein, less sugar, a creamier mouthfeel and a noticeably shorter, cleaner, label owing to a proprietary cold milling process, she claimed.

The milks – which deliver a “thick and creamy emulsion”​ without the use of the gums, stabilizers and emulsifiers that feature in most plant-based beverages - also contain more nuts (the source of the protein) than many nut milks, and do not contain added protein isolates or concentrates, said Behzadi.

“Peanuts definitely mean protein, and of all of the family of ​[plant-based milk] products, peanut varieties have the highest in the portfolio, with our original peanut milk bringing 6g of protein in an 8oz glass and the chocolate variety brings 8g in a serving. You’re getting 31 peanuts in an 8oz glass so you are going to taste that raw ingredient first.”

Ingredients list (original):​ Filtered water, peanuts, cane sugar, natural flavors, salt 

Incremental growth?

So will peanut milk deliver incremental growth to the plant-based milks segment, or steal market share away from other players.

It’s early days, but given the unique taste, texture and higher protein content, it could bring in new consumers, particularly chocolate milk fans, predicted Behzadi.

I do think that the milked peanuts with Dutch cocoa is a great alternative to traditional dairy chocolate milk and has a lot less sugar than some of those traditional chocolate milks on the market. So it has less sugar, but 8g of protein per 8oz serving. If I can get you to taste it, I know you’re going to love it.”

Read more about the peanut milks HERE​.​  

peanut milk in field

Manufactured by Steuben Foods in Elma, New York, via a patented, proprietary ‘cold milling’ process that begins with whole nuts, the lightly tan-colored original version of the peanut milk has a creamy mouthfeel but refreshing consistency created without emulsifiers, gums or stabilizers (which are typically used to hold plant-based proteins in suspension and to create a thicker mouthfeel) and contains only five ingredients: filtered water, peanuts, cane sugar, natural flavors, and salt, says Elmhurst Milked.

The peanut milk has 150 calories per 8oz serving – which is at the higher end of the spectrum (an 8oz glass of whole milk has 136) -  but has four times the nuts [31 peanuts in every glass], six times the protein (6g), and less sugar (5g) than best-selling almond milk brands Silk and Almond Breeze, which both have 1g protein, 7g sugar, and 60 calories per 8oz glass. It contains a small amount of calcium from the peanuts, but is not fortified with added vitamins and minerals.

The chocolate version, which contains slightly more protein and sugar (8g protein, 13g sugar/8oz glass), has fewer calories (130) as it has less fat (3g vs 11g for the original variety). The ingredients are the same as the original, but include Dutched cocoa.

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