Pea Yogurt Could be Coming to a Grocery Store Near You
Milk without cows may not be anything new. But yogurt without milk seems just shy of revolutionary. Yet that's exactly what Ripple—the Silicon Valley startup that created pea milk—is trying to develop now, according to an article in Fast Company.
In 2015, Ripple launched its pea milk commercially at Whole Foods, where demand has grown so rapidly for the product—by 300 percent in a year—the company feels confident enough with its foray to try making other traditional dairy foods dairy-free.
Ripple will launch its new products—dairy-free Greek yogurt and half-and-half— using the same proprietary ingredient it does in its pea milk. Dubbed Ripptein, the additive strips away plant flavors and leaves behind only protein, according to Fast Company. (That's one reason Ripple's pea milk doesn't taste like liquefied legumes.)
"From a biochemical standpoint, milk is protein, and fat, and sugar," Neil Renninger, Ripple cofounder and co-CEO, told Fast Company. "There are plenty of plant sugars you can use, and plenty of plant fats. There are also plenty of plant proteins you can use, but the problem is that they all taste like the plant they derive from. We had to figure out how to make a plant protein that didn't taste like a plant protein."
The company's new pea half-and-half, which Fast Company says dissolves into coffee "like the real thing, without the calories," launches in July, while customers may have to wait until the end of this year—or possibly early next year—for its yogurt.
Renninger admitted neither the half-and-half nor the yogurt were easy to create. For example, "with half-and-half, the challenge was getting something that worked well in coffee, but also would work well in a culinary situation," he said. "It's a bit of a balance providing that creaminess and a clean taste. Protein is an important part of the creaminess in half-and-half, but if you don't have clean protein, you can't get that creaminess without adding off flavors."
The yogurt was a different story. Yogurt is created with fermenting milk, but it goes without saying that cow milks ferment differently than plant milks. Ripple has figured it out, but its Greek yogurt "doesn't taste exactly like yogurt," Fast Company says.
What's next? Maybe ice cream, Ripple says. "Anywhere you have a plant-based protein is a space we could potentially play," says Ripple CEO Adam Lowry.