Soy milk or soymilk is a plant-based beverage made from soybeans. It is often used as an alternative to dairy milk for various reason such as people being lactose-intolerant or vegans. Soy milk is often fortified with vitamins and minerals, including calcium and vitamin D, to mimic the benefits of cow’s milk.
Soy milk originates from China when the people there began drinking it somewhere around 25 AD. It remains a much more popular beverage in Asia than in North America, but there certainly has been an uptick in demand over the previous 20 years in the Western countries.
This article will highlight some of the more popular soy milk brands available to consumers. We hope it will be useful to help readers find a brand of soy milk they can enjoy as an everyday beverage or one to grab on occasion for a tasty and nutritious drink.
If you only know a little bit of information about soy milk, you likely are aware that the Silk brand is extremely popular. Silk is unquestionably the leading brand of soy milk in the United States with sales of approximately $145 million in 2019. It is tough to visit the dairy section of a given grocery story and not see some variety of Silk.
A little about Silk…
In 1978, WhiteWave Inc. was started by Steve Demos out of Boulder, Colorado. Demos sought to provide an alternative to traditional cow’s milk that was a staple at meal times around America. WhiteWave began selling Silk Soymilk close to home during the early stages of the company. However, in 1996 Silk began to be distributed across the United States as the company realized growth when its soymilk was placed next to the traditional milk in the refrigerator section of grocery stores.
WhiteWave has had a few different owners through the years. They were owned by Dean Foods before being spun off into their own company in 2013. Danone purchased the company 2017 and still owns WhiteWave today.
The soy milk produced by Silk at the time of this article are: Original, Vanilla, Very Vanilla, Chocolate, Light Original, Organic Unsweet, Organic Unsweet Vanilla, and Organic Vanilla.
8th Continent is a brand of Stremicks Heritage Foods, which is a family-owned company that specializes in producing high-quality beverages. The brands associated with the company are 8th Continent, Heritage Organic Milk, Kern’s, and Rice Dream.
The primary 8th Continent soy milk products include Original and Vanilla. Both contain 8 grams of soy protein per serving (1 Cup, 240ML). The soy milk is made with United States grown soybeans. The products are vegan, kosher, lactose-free, and gluten-free.
This Oregon based company began in 1987 making soy milk and tofu. They became known for making non-dairy beverages that did not need refrigeration due to their aseptic packaging. The success of their initial products allowed the company to expand into a variety of foods and beverages such as broths, stocks, soups, and numerous plant-based beverages.
Pacific Foods is owned by the Campbell Soup Company who acquired the company in 2017 for $700 million cash. The soy beverages made by Pacific are Organic Unsweetened Soy Original and Ultra Soy Original.
Dream started as an organic food market called Morning Dew in St. Louis in the 1970s. In the 1980s, the store name was changed to Imagine Foods. Eventually, the company under the leadership of its founder, Robert Nissenbaum, took some of the company’s products to a food industry trade show. These products were the initial recipes for Rice Dream Drink and Frozen Dessert. The products were a hit at the trade show and began to be distributed broadly. The Hain Celestial Group purchased Imagine Foods in 2002 and currently still owns the company.
The two soy milk products made by Soy Dream are Enriched Original Soymilk and Enriched Vanilla Soymilk. Both products are organic and provide 7 grams of soy protein per serving. They offer generous amounts of calcium, and vitamins such as B12, D, and E.
WestSoy has been one of the soy milk brands of The Hain Celestial Group since 1997. The company’s roots come from an organic food market that the original owners founded in California in the 1980s. Some of the popular products produced by the WestSoy are Organic Original, Organic Unsweetened Plain, Lowfat Plain, and Non Fat Plain.
The Eden Foods co-op was started in response to the lack of natural foods in the late 1960s. The co-op eventually expanded into a natural food store selling a wide variety of healthy and organic foods. According to the company’s website, they are the oldest organic and natural food company in the U.S. and Canada.
The organic soy milk made by Eden Foods is called Edensoy. Their products include Vanilla, Carob, Original, Original Extra, Vanilla Extra, Unsweetened, and Cocoa. You should strongly consider giving this brand a try considering they were responsible for launching the nondairy liquid foods market in the early 1980s and produced the first soy milk in North America.
In comparison to companies that produce brands of soy milk, Yeo’s is extremely old. They were created in 1900 in China and their first product was soy sauce. By 1935, the company was extremely successful which allowed them to move to Singapore to open a new sauce factory. It wasn’t unit 1953 that Yeo’s began producing soy bean milk and by 1970 they developed a USA branch in San Francisco.
Yeo’s soy milk products include Soy Bean Milk, Black Soy Milk, Less sugar Soy Milk, Vietnamese Style, and Unsweetened.
Kikkoman is best-known in the United States for its soy sauces. In fact, it is the most popular soy sauce not only in America, but Japan as well. This Japanese company was founded in 1917 and has since expanded to seven regional sales office in just the United States with the U.S. headquarters being located in San Francisco.
The Kikkoman soy milk brand is called Pearl. They makes a few organic varieties of soy milk that include Original, Creamy Vanilla, Green Tea, Chocolate, Unsweetened, and Coffee.
Vitamilk is a unique soy milk brand in that it comes in 300mL glass bottles. This makes it a convenient on-the-go soy milk beverage that doesn’t necessarily have to be consumed at home for something like the milk for your favorite chocolate cereal brand. Certain flavors are also made in traditional carton form if you prefer this type of packaging.
The flavors of Vitamilk are Original, Double Choco, Banana, and Energy. The products have a 12 month shelf life so don’t be afraid to stock up.