Scientists are making smoothies with potato milk

December 13, 2017 - 06:20

A Swedish food scientist has made a milk substitute out of potatoes. This is said to be more neutral in taste than soya or oat milk.

The smoothie here is made of potato milk and fruit. (Photo: Kristina Lindgärde)

If you go to any well-stocked supermarket you will find many milk options. You no longer need to choose between light, whole or skim milk – or any other varieties from cows.

Plant-based products are growing in popularity. You can enjoy steaks or cheese made of soya beans. But milk alternatives on the shelves might be made of soya, almonds, coconuts, rice, cashews or oats. If that isn’t enough, make way for potato milk.

The move toward getting plant-based products more available has many roots. Researchers estimate that between one and three percent of the Norwegian population has a milk or dairy-product allergy and these persons need alternatives. Choosing a plant-based diet that excludes animal products can also be better for the environment. Most of the customers for these foods are vegans by choice.

Vegans do not eat anything animal; no meat or fish, no milk, cheese, eggs or even honey. Everything has to come from plants. This can be difficult, as animal products or by-products dominate the market. This is one of the reasons why the Swedish food researcher Eva Tornberg wanted to create potato milk.

“One matter of concern, it can be hard for vegans to get a sufficient intake of vital omega-3, which is mainly found in fatty fish,” says Tornberg in a press release from Lund University.

Controlling how the body deals with waste products is one of the roles of omega-3, according to a study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim.

Neutral taste with plenty of omega-3

Technically, it can be hard to convert plant-based products into creamy products like milk. This is because plant proteins are more difficult to extract than animal proteins. Tornberg has discovered the creaminess can be achieved if the protein and starch in potatoes is heated in a specific way and mixed with rapeseed oil, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

“The great thing about the potato is that it lacks taste,” explains Tornberg.

The plan is to produce and sell the product as an alternative to milk, yoghurt, cream and ice cream. The milk has been tested in the laboratory and in a factory and the hope is it will be commercially available next year. The first product is likely to be a smoothie made of potato milk with apple juice and fruit.

Tornberg explains that the idea behind the smoothie is that it will serve as a great, nourishing between-meal snack. The drink will contain six percent rapeseed oil, which means that a 250ml smoothie covers half the daily requirements for omega-3. In addition, the product contains no allergens and can be locally produced.

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Read the Norwegian version of this article at forskning.no

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Translated by
Glenn Ostling