Opinion: What is the Best Milk Alternative, and What do AC Milk Drinkers Think?

Albion Family Fare shelves have various kinds of milk and milk alternatives. Many people have different opinions of what the best kind of milk is (Photo by Hannah Fathman).

Concerns against dairy milk begin to grow. Between upset stomachs, greenhouse gas emissions and apprehension for the usual taste and texture, the search for an alternative steadily gains traction. 

While many Brits still rely on the trusty dairy drink with their cereal, cookies or Baldwin dinner, more people are seeking better alternatives. Luckily, there are plenty of plant-based options. 

Can’t decide what to pick? Albion College Students, along with the head of the “Albion College Milk Drinkers,” an Instagram page dedicated to “exposing” consumers of milk, have many thoughts to share. Many college milk drinkers aren’t sure what non-dairy option will satisfy their craving, and it can be difficult to find affordable and sufficient options. Considering that, here are the top choices available around Albion.

Almond Milk

A sign at Stirling Books & Brew café demonstrates they offer one dairy milk alternative, almond milk, for a fee of 75 cents (Photo illustration by Hannah Fathman).

Almond milk is one of the most popular choices, mainly because it’s the most readily available. You can usually find it in Lower Baldwin, Stirling Books and Brew, Between the Grinds and Family Fare. 

Delia Nieves, a Cleveland native who is in her third year of college and veganism, says that almond milk is her drink of choice. While it’s gained popularity for its low calorie content and mild palate, almond milk comes with a downside. 

“It’s not the greatest for the environment,” Nieves said. “So I’m considering what I can do about that.” 

According to Hannah Richie in an article for Our World In Data, almond milk uses over 13 times the amount of freshwater compared to soy. While still having a lower environmental impact than dairy, almond milk uses more water, causing high levels of water pollution, called eutrophication. 

Soy Milk

Soy Milk is another popular choice, mainly for its affordability. Being the cheapest option on the shelf, it’s often what college students reach for. Soy milk is also one of the best options for the environment; Richie’s data shows that it uses the least amount of water and causes the least eutrophication.

Milk alternatives on a shelf at Family Fare in Albion. A wide variety of prices and types are offered within five minutes of campus (Photo by Hannah Fathman).

The “Albion College Milk Drinkers” is an Instagram page created by an Albion College student in 2021. The page quickly garnered popularity throughout the 2021-2022 school year and now has over 300 followers. The page is lighthearted and meant to “Expos(e) those who drink milk.” Students hoping to be featured on the page can submit photos of their friends on campus drinking milk. Unfortunately, the page has been relatively inactive so far this year. 

The anonymous head of the “Albion College Milk Drinkers” page, who agreed to speak with The Pleiad as long as they could maintain their pages anonymity, said that soy milk is the only plant-based milk they’ve deemed worthy of trying. Previously, the owner had publicly stated to a “victim” of the page on Feb. 5, 2022, that by drinking soy milk they “betrayed the page.” 

According to the page’s owner, soy milk is just okay. Is the experience of drinking a glass of soy milk enough to create this much character growth? That’s hard to say.

First-year Ava McChesney from Ortonville says soy milk is “the perfect alternative” for her Between the Grinds coffees. Although it isn’t her go-to milk alternative, McChesney expressed that the campus expanding its non-dairy options is exciting. 

Soy milk is both affordable and accessible to Albion students. You can often find a carton in Lower Baldwin, at Between the Grinds and at Family Fare

Both almond and oat milk are both offered in the milk alternative fridge in Lower Baldwin (Photo by Hannah Fathman).

Oat Milk 

Arguably the best-tasting dairy-milk substitute, oat milk has the closest texture to dairy with relatively minimal environmental effects according to Richie’s data. However, it’s slightly less popular. You can either hope for Lower Baldwin to have some, which is rare; otherwise, you’re stuck buying it on your own at Family Fare. Even then, oat milk is sadly the most expensive option.

Nieves said that oat milk is one of her mom’s go-to’s but that it’s sometimes “a little too sweet” for her taste. 

McChesney said that oat milk is “what she was used to” in her coffee and is hoping it becomes available around campus soon, especially Between the Grinds. 

It doesn’t stop at oat. There’s hemp milk, rice milk, coconut milk, cashew milk – the options go on. What remains clear is Albion Campus is lacking in alternatives they could offer. Oat milk seems the best for those seeking a sweet, dairy-like substitute, almond for those looking for a low-calorie option and soy for the college-budget-friendly option. 

No matter if it’s dairy milk or an alternative, if you catch any of your friends indulging in these drinks around campus, the owner of the “Albion College Milk Drinkers” page urges you to submit the evidence. 

If the page gets enough submissions, it “is definitely coming back” the owner said.

That’s something we can all look forward to.

About Hannah Fathman 7 Articles
Hannah Fathman is a Junior Political Science major with a Theatre and Spanish Minor from Hamilton, Michigan. They’re focus is on bringing light to social injustices and human rights violations. Mainly, they focus on Race, Gender, and LGBTQ issues. They also enjoy the occasional witty opinion piece. If you have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to see written, contact Hannah via email at hgf10@albion.edu

1 Comment

  1. Fun article! It’s a cool way to feature a group on campus without taking the “introducing this group on campus” route.

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