Alternative Energy Sources
Nondairy milks could offer a healthier kind of refueling
So i was going in to my document and i find this ................
In the last few years mostly in the market has stopped talking about caffeinated beverages and have instead begun referring to liquid pick-me-ups as " non dairy " or “energy drinks.” as alternative .
U can quibble about the appropriateness of this terminology, but there’s no denying the runaway success of the category: This stimulating corner of the beverage market has undergone a 400 percent growth-jolt in just five years. Beverage Digest recently reported that sales of Rockstar energy drink rose nearly 40 percent in 2008, while its well-established competitor, Red Bull, saw sales gains of 19 percent during the same period. Taken as a whole, the 250-plus players competing in this space can now lay claim to having built a $6.6 billion market from, well, pretty much nothing a decade ago.
From a marketing standpoint, this is an accomplishment only slightly less impressive than splitting the atom. But from semantic and nutritional angles, it’s a bit more problematic.
We have narrowly redefined “energy” so that it is synonymous with the stimulant properties of caffeine. And we all know that the energy caffeine delivers is of the quick-hit, short-lasting variety. Rather than providing any sort of real sustenance that carries us through the day, caffeine drinks simply perk us up temporarily, often leading us to consume more when the buzz abates. It’s the difference between a power surge that pops your home’s circuit breakers and a normal steady stream of electricity that keeps the lights, TV, and appliances on all day, every day.
But what if we were to begin thinking a little differently about what an energy drink can be? What if, instead of looking for that fast, fleeting fix that ultimately leaves us feeling deflated, we were to think in terms of drinks that serve as wholesome, healthier, nutritionally balanced, and delicious sources of all-day energy? Given the proper ratio of protein to carbohydrates, a true energy drink could offer a deep reserve of real energy—the kind that gives everyone from athletes to accountants the wherewithal to do what needs to be done.
Many fruit smoothies are consistent with this objective, and their popularity continues to grow as chains such as Jack in the Box add their own varieties to the menu board. But the story shouldn’t end there.
One of the most exciting health trends we are seeing at the Center for Culinary Development this year is a burgeoning interest in novel and satisfying nondairy “milks” capable of being deployed in any number of beverage applications. Crafty manufacturers are working diligently these days to formulate tasty, high-protein beverages from nuts, grains, and legumes. And based on our experience and experiments, the results are often quite good from a sensory perspective.
Here are my suggestions for some quick-serve specific applications that just might help rejigger the energy-drink equation.
It might sound far-fetched on first blush, but once you taste certain kinds of nut milk for yourself, you’ll find it’s not hard to imagine Italian-themed chains—including the likes of Sbarro and Round Table—offering sweet hazelnut- or almond-milk beverages flavored with rich, dark espresso and a touch of honey. By the same token, any number of quick-serve chains could consider a line of high-protein, nondairy smoothies made from almond milk and peanut butter. Served cold, these nut milks can act as a blank slate for any number of provocative and interesting flavors. And as dairy alternatives, their mouth-feel is cleaner and lighter than fruit smoothies or coffee beverages such as cappuccinos and lattés. It’s a pleasing flavor that I personally find preferable to soymilk, whose presence on a fast-food menu remains hard to fathom.
Horchata is essentially a flavored rice-milk drink native to
, where it’s often dispensed from roadside carts and trucks by street vendors. But the thick, tasty concoction also has been making inroads here in the Mexico for several years. Various versions are turning up throughout U.S. San Francisco—particularly at numerous taquerias in the city’s Mission district—and in many other urban centers as well. As one food blogger noted: “If Starbucks ever wrapped their green aprons around horchata, it could be the next chai latté.”
Great horchata has a thin milkshake-like texture, but again, its pleasing mouth feel and relatively plain flavor make it an ideal canvas for tastes such as Mexican chocolate, cinnamon, and real vanilla. Mexican chains from Taco Bueno to Salsarita’s might find that these satisfying energy drinks could make for a delicious, authentically ethnic addition to their existing beverage menus.
Feel Those a.m. Oats
While many consumers might have at least a passing acquaintance with rice and nut milks, oat milk remains a largely unknown quantity. But this grain-derived drink—sweeter than cow’s milk with only a faint hint of oat flavor—could prove ideal for breakfast applications. Atole, another traditional Mexican beverage, has the consistency of warm porridge, with grains such as cornmeal (masa) providing the thick, rich texture. Think of it as hot cereal intended for drinking out of a mug. Like horchata, atole can be flavored with chocolate, cinnamon, or brown sugar. Made with oat milk, it would also offer a boost of protein and the heart-healthy benefits often attributed to oats and oat bran.