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Dairy Free Awards 2020

Celebrating excellence in plant-based alternatives, The Vegan Society Aotearoa New Zealand present the inaugural Dairy Free Awards. These awards are an opportunity to reward companies who show us the best they can offer in terms of taste, texture, mouth-feel and versatility. We have separate awards for imports and NZ made in each product category.

Our expert panel have selected the best of the best for each category. In the cheese categories with so many great vegan cheeses in the marketplace, it really was very hard to select just a mere 8! From the Alternative Dairy Company to Zenzo, there are so many to choose from including the delicious nut-based ones from Crescent, Savour and Terra Nut Cheese. Using nuts as a base is a great way to incorporate a suitable protein to fat ratio, leaving you feeling satiated. Whether you want to grate it on a pizza or eat it with crackers, plant-based cheeses can offer you all the tastiness you need.

There are so many New Zealand made plant milks, with some offering a truly homegrown product, taking advantage of our climate to grow the best oats in the country. We chose 7 to be in the running, including Covet macadamia milk (this has GOT to be the creamiest), Little Island chocolate coconut milk (so yum), Milk 2.0 (with weekly home deliveries in Auckland), Otis oat milk (fab in a coffee) and the So Good cashew milk (makes the best smoothies). This category really shows us the versatility of plants, easy to cook with, pour on your cereal, whatever you want to do with it. Their environmental credentials are off the charts and would help lower our emissions if wisely invested in.

We had 4 coconut yoghurts, all deliciously creamy, from Cathedral Cove, Doctor's Choice, Raglan Coconut Yoghurt and The Coconut Collective. We love all our New Zealand businesses helping to bring plant-based alternatives to our country. The Doctor's Choice is the lowest in fat content, so a great tasty, allergenic alternative to dairy.

The final category is our most delicious: dairy-free ice creams. So many flavours, so many companies, so much ice cream, so little time! After much soul searching our experts managed to pick 7 delicious flavours from the best of our local offerings, Duck Island, IsoCream, Like Licks, Little Island, Oob, Trumpet and Wahiki, with flavours from the always delicious chocolate, hokey pokey, the salted caramels and cookies and cream to the more unusual tumeric latte and boysenberry.

Of course all the interest in plant-based alternatives has been great for local businesses, we asked our cheese category winner, Alice Shopland, CEO for Angel Food what her experience has been, “Since 2015 when veganism suddenly took hold in the mainstream, demand for our products has increased by leaps and bounds. Even if people aren’t vegan and don’t think they’ll ever be vegan, often they’re willing to taste our vegan cheese alternatives and they have an understanding of the reasons for veganism – especially the environmental reasons. That widespread understanding simply wasn’t there 13 years ago when I started Angel Food! The future is looking very bright for dairy alternatives – most of us grew up consuming dairy every day in various forms, so it’s an important part of our taste repertoire. Great dairy alternatives enable us to eat our favourite foods in a way that is kinder to animals and much much better for the environment. Obviously animal agriculture is still massive in Aotearoa, but I see so many signs of change and willingness to change, from consumers and farmers and legislators – I’m optimistic that this decade we are going to see evidence of that change taking place.”

The results are now in:

NZ Dairy-Free Awards 2020

Category: Cheese (local)

Winner: Angel Food Cheddar

Runner up: Angel Food Cream Cheese

Category: Cheese (import)

Winner: Vegusto Piquant

Runner up: Tofutti Cream Cheese

Category: Milk (local)

Winner: So Good Soy Milk

Runner up: Little Island Chocolate Coconut Milk

Category: Milk (import)

Winner: Vitasoy Soy Milk

Runner up: Alpro Soya Milk

Category: Yoghurt (local)

Winner: Raglan Coconut Yoghurt Boysenberry

Runner up: Cathedral Cove Blueberry and Chia Coconut Yoghurt

Category: Yoghurt (import)

Winner: Kingland Berry Soy Yoghurt

Runner up: CoYo Vanilla Bean Yoghurt

Category: Ice Cream (local)

Winner: Trumpet Vegan Boysenberry

Runner up: Duck Island Coconut Caramel, Sesame, Chocolate, Peanut

Category: Ice Cream (import)

Winner: Magnum Dairy Free Almond

Runner up: Ben & Jerry’s Coconut Seven Layer Bar

The future of milk products is plant-based. We hope that the government will help farmers to diversify and transition to growing plants over the coming decade. It's time for New Zealand to once again become global leaders. We can do this, we can change our economy from meat and dairy based to horticultural based. We will meet our Paris Agreement if we invest in our land wisely, grow the right crops in the right environment and increase our organic inputs.

© Scoop Media

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