Tesco Unsweetened Almond Milk

Product Reviews

 

Whether you suffer from a milk allergy or intolerance or have revisited plant-based milk alternatives due to health or ethical reasons, there is no denying that the dairy-free (or freefrom) market is on the rise. Tesco have supplied us with soya and rice milk as a part of their own-brand & freefrom food range for a while now (years and years even!), but our food preferences have influenced their food production just that one step further! They now stock their shelves with their own-brand almond milk! Stumbling upon this during our weekly shopping trip was a happy accident indeed. 🙂

Many companies offer almond milk these days, but it’s great to see major supermarkets finally producing their own!

Tesco offer both an unsweetened and sweetened UHT version, which is perfect as not everyone has refrigerator space for four or five cartons of milk (well, particularly those that meal prep and/or eat an abundance of fruits and vegetables- us included)! Additionally, they also sell a fresh version, but it’s sweetened.

 

 

So, how does it compare to other leading brands…

…well in this instance we have compared it to ‘Alpro’!

 

Ingredients & Nutritional Info

Tesco

Alpro

 

The Facts…

Personally, we would always opt for buying unsweetened milks!

    • Both milks contain 2% almonds, which isn’t really a lot when you think about it! In fact, almonds are listed as the second ingredient to water! Maybe it’s about time we all start to make our own?!
    • Per 100ml/:
      »They are both low in calories; Tesco’s is slightly higher but it’s negligible.
      »They are both low in sugar (not surprisingly!) and salt; Tesco has slightly less salt but again the quantity is negligible.
      »They both have the same quantity of protein and fats.
      »Tesco’s version has slightly more carbohydrates, but that’s because it’s third ingredient is added ‘maltodextrin’ (which we discuss shortly).
  • They both use the same thickening agents: ‘Gellan Gum’ and ‘Carob Gum’ (which is also known as ‘Locust Bean Gum’; E410).(¹)
  • They both fortify their milks with: Calcium, Vitamins D, B2 and B12; their quantities vary ever so very slightly, but not enough for it to be a deciding factor over it’s product quality.
  • Tesco does not fortify it’s milk with Vitamin E, but Alpro does; unlike B12, Vitamin E is found naturally in numerous plant-based food items, e.g. avocados, wheat germ, vegetable oils and nuts,(²) so this is not by any means a travesty!
  • Obviously they are both dairy-free and ‘vegan’, but also gluten and wheat free.

Photo: Vegan Society logo (UK), courtesy of the Vegan Society

  • Alpro has the Vegan Society’s seal of approval; Tesco has yet to get their milk recognised by the Vegan Society!

 

Taste
Almonds_Rob Stanard_flickr

Photo: Almonds By: Rob Stanard_flickr

You’ll experience the same delicious, slightly sweet and nutty taste in both brands but Tesco’s version is slightly thicker; a lot of almond milk’s have a ‘watery’ taste (similar to s/s cow’s milk). The thicker taste is down to the fact that Tesco’s third ingredient is maltodextrin; a manufactured sugar/starchy carbohydrate (a ‘polysaccharide‘), used as a multi-purpose food additive that can have a mild and sweet taste. It can be derived from various cereal starches, i.e. wheat, corn, tapicoa, rice, (³) or potatoes. It’s added to food products to help thicken, bind and/or flavour them.

For us, the thicker taste is welcomed but it all comes down to personal preference. A thicker milk would come in handy for those that cannot consume soya (but prefer a fuller-bodied milk), do not enjoy soya, oat or coconut milks or those who need an alternative/fuller and versatile milk that they could use in their dairy-free sauces, milkshakes, soups and/or curries etc.

Another good point is that it didn’t curdle in our tea (as some dairy free milk has a habit of doing!).

 

Cost
      • The cost of Tesco’s Unsweetened Almond Milk is currently £1.40/1L/carton.
      • Alpro’s Unsweetened Almond Milk varies from store to store; occasionally you can only purchase a UHT or fresh version at any one store. At Tesco, Alpro’s UHT Unsweetened Almond Milk currently costs £1.70/L/carton.

 

Value
Photo: Raw vanilla Almond Milk By: Heather Crosby_flickr

Photo: Raw vanilla Almond Milk By: Heather Crosby_flickr

Everyone has different tastes and budgets, but these two products are both fortified and taste great. Personally speaking, half of the reason as to why we purchase dairy-free milk is for the dietary calcium, Vitamin D and B12 supplementation that it provides! Currently there are quite a few dairy-free milks on the market (inclusive of almond) that do not provide you with many or any extra added nutrients, so make sure to check the labels before you buy them!

The biggest influence for us is cost. If a product is cheaper (but not inferior in taste or quality), then that’s our decision made. Almond milk is currently more expensive than some other-dairy free milks (but in no means the most expensive!), but there’s no doubt that Tesco will have a sale on it at some point; you can occasionally find Alpro milk’s on offer for £1/carton or 2 for £2.

Tesco’s almond milk advises that you should use it within three days of opening, whilst Alpro advises using theirs within five. These use by dates are generally not a problem for us; a carton of milk typically only lasts about two days (between the two of us!) but even so, we’ve used dairy-free milk and yoghurt’s up until seven days with no ill effect.

Lastly, both their ‘unopened’ use-by dates are about the same (8-9 months from the date of purchase).

 

Our Overall Opinion

There are plenty of brands that currently sell almond and various other dairy-free milks and Alpro used to be our ‘almond milk’ of choice, but unless Tesco suddenly changes the taste, cost or skimps on its fortification, then this will now be our preferred brand. Like any food item, it will all come down to diet, lifestyle, budget and/or personal preferences.

If you’ve never previously tried almond milk or have have a bad experience with it, this product is worth giving it a first or second chance!

Our only requests for Tesco would be to add a few more almonds (it’s cheeky we know, but please!) and to start selling it in larger cartons; 2 litres would be perfect! A lot of North American non-dairy milks are sold in 1L, 2L or 4.55L(1 gallon) cartons! Considering the popularity of freefrom brands, isn’t it worth a trial?!

How does everyone feel about increasing the current carton size of dairy-free milks? Please vote and express your thoughts!

 

Do any of you currently drink almond milk or any other dairy-free milks? What’s your favourite brand? We’d love to hear about your thoughts and experiences!

 

Sources:
Food Standards Agency (FSA): Additives & their E Numbers (1)
NHS Choices (2)
Coeliac (UK) (3)
BDA
Tesco
Alpro
Vegan Society UK

 

*Disclaimer: We have not been paid for this product review and all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Almost! Fig Newtons [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 16
Prep & Cooking Time: 45 mins

Notes: This recipe contains: B-Vitamins, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc and (per serving) is low in salt, sat fats and contains a moderate quantity of sugars! 

If you’re like us, you’ll always have oats (#addicted) and a tonne of spices in your kitchen cupboards… and maybe even some dried fruits?! On this occasion we happened to have some tasty figs hiding in the ‘back and beyond’ too! So instead of devising some sort of cake, tart or muffin, we decided to whip up something that we haven’t enjoyed in over fifteen years- fig newtons! 

These ‘Almost! Fig Newtons’ are fantastic! Sure, ours are more like squares than little figgy, ‘pie/cookie-parcels’, but subsequently they contain a lot less fat and sugar as a result! The combination of baked oats and figs, in addition to this blend of spices and flavourings really make these delicious morsels something that you could eat everyday (but all good things should be in moderation right)?!

Luckily moderating them is made easier by the fact they freeze really well! I think next time we might even try experimenting with another flavour; apple, blueberry or strawberry would work quite well, but it’s impossible to pick just one… there are just too many flavours to choose from!

So, whatever your preferred ‘newton’ flavour may be, we hope that you enjoy one with your next cup of tea or especially when blogging! 😉

Have a great weekend and happy baking everyone!

 

Ingredients

+++++++++++++++++++++180g        Dried Figs
+++++++++++++++++++++———————————————————–
+++++++++++++++++++++100g        Porridge Oats (+ 5g for topping)
+++++++++++++++++++++220g        Plain GF Flour (or a quinoa flour)
+++++++++++++++++++++½ tsp       Baking Soda
+++++++++++++++++++++2g            Ground Cinnamon
+++++++++++++++++++++2g            Ground Ginger
+++++++++++++++++++++1g             Salt
+++++++++++++++++++++———————————————————–
+++++++++++++++++++++60ml        Rapeseed oil
+++++++++++++++++++++45ml         Agave Syrup
+++++++++++++++++++++125ml       Soya Milk (unsweetened & fortified)
+++++++++++++++++++++¼ tsp        Vanilla Paste (*optional)

 

Directions

Boil some water in a kettle. Place the figs into a small saucepan. Pour over the boiled water. Allow them to soak for 8-10 mins or until softened.

 

In the meantime…

  • Place the oats into a food processor and pulse until a flour consistency is achieved. Transfer the oat flour into another bowl. Add the GF flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Whisk and stir together until thoroughly combined.
  • Place the oil, syrup, soya milk and vanilla extract(*if using) into a mixing bowl and whisk together.
  • Spray a square baking tin with some low-fat cooking oil or grease with a little oil.

Make sure to grease all sides of the tin!

 

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

Make a ‘well’ in the centre of the dry ingredients. Pour in the wet ingredients. Mix together until a dough forms. Tip: If it’s a little dry, add a splash of milk.

 

 

Place half of the dough into the baking tin. Spread and press it evenly over the base of the tin.

 

 

Remove the figs from the water with a slotted spoon (but reserve the water). Transfer the figs into the food processor. Add 4 tbsp of the reserved water. Pulse until smooth.

 

 

Pour and spread the fig mixture evenly over the dough base.

 

 

To assemble the top layer you can either:

A) Use a rolling pin and roll the remaining dough over a lightly floured piece of parchment paper (large and wide enough to cover the figs) and then carefully slide and transfer it over the fig layer.

B) Flatten pieces of the remaining dough between your hands and place them together like a jig-saw over the layer of fig. Use some parchment paper or a silicone spatula to help manipulate it, covering the figs as evenly as possible.

We went for option B and then sprinkled over a layer of oats!

 

 

Place the tin onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for about 25 mins or until lightly browned. Remove. Place the tin onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before cutting.

 

 

Slice into sixteen squares and enjoy!

 

Wrap any remaining squares in kitchen film and then freeze in an air tight and resealable container; defrost and consume within 2 months.

Recipe updated: 19/02/16