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Alex Frank / Spoon

Why Oat Milk is the Best Dairy Substitute

With the rise in popularity of dairy substitutes in the past several years, there has been an explosion in products available for purchase. Dairy substitutes, in general, are gaining prevalence in stores nationwide, with coffee shops and grocery stores offering them at higher frequencies. However, one substitute, in particular, has been garnering some attention lately, and I think it’s about time we talked about why oat milk is the best dairy substitute currently out on the market!  

There’s been a recent increase in the number of dairy substitutes that are available for purchase overall. I would honestly associate this with the rise of vegetarianism and veganism and the newfound popularity of it beyond it seemingly being a “fad” diet. Substitute meats and other dairy products are also on the rise, but that’s another discussion for a different time. With the new increase in popularity for plant-based diets, the demand for products that reflect that diet is also on the rise. As people naturally want to buy products that they can consume. This isn’t to say that someone is required to have a dairy-less diet to consume milk substitutes, but following the said diet does incentivize you to find different products to consume. 

For a while, the two milk substitutes that were the most popular for a long while were almond milk and soy milk. But now that oat milk is on the market, they have a true competitor to deal with. Oat milk’s explosion in popularity has been shocking, to say the least. It ended up on coffee shop menus around the nation in what feels like the blink of an eye. Dunkin’ Donuts, I’m looking at you! 

Coffee Latte Art
Jocelyn Hsu / Spoon

I feel that oat milk’s newfound popularity can be explained by a few reasons. The first and foremost being the thickness of it. Now, when it comes to milk substitutes in general, they have a few issues. One common issue that is fairly universal is the fact that they are thin. Milk itself is a thicker liquid that is almost creamy in texture. For people to go from a heavier drink to one that is thin and almost watery by comparison, it’s no surprise that some people simply dislike the consumption of milk substitutes. 

Oat milk sidesteps this issue by being far thicker than the other drinks on the market. Compared to almond and soy milk, it’s no contest which one is thicker. This makes it easier to mix in with things like cereal and coffee and makes it more enjoyable to drink in general. 

Other issues with milk substitutes are also present, the other big issue being the fact that a majority of substitutes can trigger allergies. Almond milk, while I do love it, can quite literally send a large portion of people into anaphylactic shock. Soy milk is similarly bad, and I personally can’t drink it due to a minor soy allergy. It’s less likely for people to be allergic to substitutes like coconut and hemp milk, but both have odd aftertastes that can throw people off, and coconut milk always adds a coconut flavor to whatever it is mixed with, which definitely isn’t the best if coconut isn’t your thing. 

Oat milk has also managed to get much of social media on its side. The amount of posts I see gushing about how good it is, frankly, makes it feel like I’m being advertised to. But when my own friends always talk about how good the oat milk at Dunkin’ Donuts is and how they now drink it instead of regular milk, I can understand how the love for oat milk is genuine and not just a large advertising scheme. 

So, if you’ve tried milk substitutes in the past and have been left feeling worse for wear, maybe test out some oat milk next time! It’s definitely the best non-dairy milk I’ve ever tried, and even people in my personal life who don’t tend to like milk substitutes are able to enjoy it as well!

Mikaela is a current student of Virginia Commonwealth University.
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