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Plant milk is a general term for any milk-like product that is derived from a plant source. There is no formal or legal definition for plant milk. Plant milks have been consumed for centuries in various cultures, both as regular drinks (such as the Spanish horchata) and as a substitute for milk, such as by some Christian denominations during Lent. The most popular varieties internationally are soy milk, almond milk, rice milk and coconut milk.
There are a variety of reasons for consuming plant milk, including health conditions such as lactose intolerance, milk allergy and PKU. Religious/spiritual reasons; veganism and ovo-vegetarianism; simple taste preference.
In the United States, soy milk was long the most popular non-dairy milk, but starting around 2010 almond milk began to see an explosion in popularity, and in 2013 it surpassed soy milk as the most popular variety. Other popular milks in the US are rice and coconut. In Europe, soy and oat milk are the most popular varieties, sold even in average supermarkets; as opposed to almond milk, which is usually more expensive, and is only found in health food stores. There is also hazelnut milk and milk from peas and lupin.
- Wong, Venessa (August 21, 2013). "Soy Milk Fades as Americans Opt for Drinkable Almonds". BusinessWeek.
- Epperly, Victoria. Daniel's Lifestyle Fasting Cook Book. Xulon Press, 2008, pp. 248–250.