Review Article

Dairy Technology

Food and Agriculture Spectrum Journal

2021 Volume 02 Number 04 Jul-Aug

Current Trends in Dairy Analogues: Functional Food

Muthukrishnan G.1*

1* Gayathri Devi Muthukrishnan, Student, Dairy Technology, Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu., Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.

In recent decades, functional food and novel products have risen dramatically in the food sector associated with a massive increase in shifting towards healthy diets. Milk is a complete food that provides a nutrient-dense diet among other food products. However, some drawbacks are deficiency of some minerals and also some health issues such as milk allergy and lactose intolerance, which have exacerbated certain population groups to seek dairy alternatives that are much more superior to conventional dairy products. At present, dairy analogs are available commercially and different types of dairy analogs are discussed in this review such as imitation milk, non-dairy fat, cheese analogs, and nondairy dessert. These products are considered as a functional food, which provides health-promoting substance beyond their natural nutrients. Dairy analogs are prepared from soybean, oat, coconut, multigrain, etc., which are subjected to some pre-treatments to ensure their functional compounds. Plant-based dairy alternatives would endow a convenient option to dairy products when they are postulated into broadly appealing and highly nutritious products.

Keywords: Dairy analogues, functional food, lactose intolerance, milk allergy, imitation milk, cheese analogs.

Corresponding Author How to Cite this Article To Browse
Gayathri Devi Muthukrishnan, Student, Dairy Technology, Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu., Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
Gayathri Devi Muthukrishnan, Current Trends in Dairy Analogues: Functional Food. FASJ. 2021;02(04):97-.
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Manuscript Received Review Round 1 Review Round 2 Review Round 3 Accepted
2021-07-05 2021-07-13 2021-07-21 2021-07-31 2021-08-18
Conflict of Interest Funding Ethical Approval Plagiarism Turnitin Note
NA Nil 14%

© 2021by Gayathri Devi Muthukrishnanand Published by The Genesis of Science Research and Literature Foundation. This is an Open Access article licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ unported [CC BY 4.0].


The term functional food has been applicable to a food product that has a nutritional profile beyond its original value. Analog means a foodstuff that structurally simulates/mimic natural products but differs in composition. A dairy analog is a food product being designed to substitute conventional bovine milk-based products. Plant-based dairy analogs are gaining popularity due to their affordable cost, high nutritional value, and ease of production. Consumers are moving towards dairy analogs for several health medical issues such as lactose intolerance, milk allergy, hypercholesterolemia, and lifestyle choices. The global dairy alternatives sector increased at a rapid rate during 2015-20. According to an IMARC group report, the sector is predicted to grow at a CAGR of about 12% during 2021-26. Dairy analogs are derived from plant-based sources including certain legumes, nuts, and seeds, which are abundant sources of minerals and vitamins (1)Dairy analogs are also known as dairy alternatives, imitation dairy products, dairy substitutes, and dairy mimics.

Need for dairy analogs:

  • Migration towards a much more efficient plant-based diet is needed to sustain the world’s rising population simultaneously minimizing ecological footprint. Animal agriculture accounts for almost 26% of total emissions and is responsible for the vast majority of world greenhouse gas emissions (2)Best alternative for people who suffer from lactose intolerance and milk allergy. Lactose intolerance is linked to a lack of lactase or β -galactosidase enzyme in the intestine. Milk allergy occurs when the immune system wrongly assumes that specific proteins in milk to be harmful (3)Furthermore, bovine milk might contain residues of antibiotics and pesticides used during the animal’s life (4)Soybean, coconut, almond, oat, and rice are used as a dairy substitute. These substances are easy to consume a pack of nutrients and do not induce abdominal bloating. It also endows multifunctional and health-promoting nutritious foods. For instance, soy milk is high in phytic acid and isoflavones which aid in the prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease and improve bone health (5)almond milk has free radical scavenging properties due to arabinose and α-tocopherol (6), rice milk contains
  • plant sterols which have anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic characteristics. The current state of several forms of dairy analogs such as imitation milk, cheese analogs, non-dairy fat, frozen dessert, and probiotic products has been summarized in this review.

Types of dairy analogues

  1. Liquid milk analogs/ Imitation milk:

Plant-based milk analogs have gained tremendous attention due to the existence of functional compounds, free from lactose and convenient to prepare from extracts of cereals, legumes, nuts, and seeds that mimic the appearance of bovine milk.  To prolong the shelf life and meet nutritional requirements of non-dairy fluid milk, a lot of processing factors are used such as pretreatments, extraction, and fortification. Traditionally, these are manufactured by soaking it for a certain amount of time, then grinding into a slurry and filtered to separate milk and coarse particles followed by the addition of ingredients to enhance the final product’s palatability. Milk substitutes were stabilized by the addition of mono- and diglycerides, glycerol monostearate, guar gum, and carrageenan. To compensate minerals requirements through the addition of ferric ammonium citrate and ferric pyrophosphate as the iron sources and calcium carbonate and tricalcium phosphate as calcium sources (7)There are many types of vegetable milk. For example, soymilk is considered as multifunctional refreshing milk that contains a rich amount of protein, vitamins, minerals (majorly calcium, iron, and zinc), and isoflavones particularly genistein and daidzein. As compared to unfermented soybeans, fermented soybeans suppress the progression of Type 2 diabetes and have a beneficial impact on reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease (8). Soybean water absorption during soaking is directly proportional to the flavor of soymilk. The amount of water absorbed by soybeans during soaking is directly proportionate to the flavor of soymilk. While using a soaking temperature of 25°C and a pH of 9, the absorption rate and liberation of 7S globulin protein increased (4). A blend of 60% almond milk and 40% soy milk had a better sensory profile than bovine milk, but calcium and protein content were lower (9)Almond nuts are high in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), which drastically decrease the levels of low –density lipoproteins in the bloodstream. Furthermore, almond allergy

is caused by amandine, legumin (11S), and prunin which are all recognized as almonds allergens (10). Coconut milk and similar products may help to raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels (11)Polyphenolic compounds are prevalent in oats. The function of β-Glucan in oats has been described by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to lessen the risk of heart disease (12)Non-dairy fluid milk from different sources and their potential, applications of novel techniques are listed in Table below.


Imitation Milk Calories(Kcal) Functional Compounds Therapeutic Properties Non-Thermal Technology Reference
  Soy   80   Isoflavones, Saponins and phytosterols   Antioxidant & hypocholesterolemic effect HPP-Suppress enzyme activity, improve product stability, US- the destruction of E.coli and S.aureus (13); (14) (15)
    Almond     40   Vitamin E, β – sitosterol and arabinose   Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and exert a prebiotic effect HPP- Allergen substance decreased, UHPH- Complete inhibition of Bacillus cereus.   (16) (17)
  Tiger nut   120   Β-sitosterol   Antibacterial effect & antioxidant UHPH- Highly resistant to psychotropic, lactobacilli, and enterobacteria. (18) (19)
  Oat   80 β-Glucan & avenanthramides Hypolipidemic effect and antimicrobial property   - (20); (21)
  Peanut     460 Resveratrol, vitamin E & arginine Immune stimulator & hypolipidemic effect US- Improve product shelf life   (22)

Plant-based fluid milk analogs and their functional, therapeutic properties

HPP-High pressure processing; UHPH-Ultra high-pressure homogenization; US Ultrasonication

2) Dairy fat analogs/ alternatives:

Market demand for this sector is anticipated to grow by 2.6% annually from 2018-21.  Mayonnaise is an oil-in-water emulsion with a fat content ranging from 70-80%. Mayonnaise is formed by vigorously beating oil, egg, vinegar, salt, and few more ingredients to improve acceptability.

The fat phase is crucial in terms of textural qualities and sensory profile. The egg is a base ingredient and egg yolk serves as an emulsifier in mayonnaise. Modified starch such as oats, arrowroot, and maize was utilized as a fat replacer. For vegetarians, Arabic gum is used as an egg substitute. It functioned as an antioxidant, antibacterial, and emulsifier (23)Ultrasonic is a novel preservation technique and used as an alternative for chemical preservatives (benzoate- sorbate). Low-fat mayonnaise was sonicated at 20 kHz, 750 W for 5 minutes. This research showed that decline in microorganisms especially yeasts, molds, and acid-tolerant bacteria (12)In mayonnaise 0.5% of peppermint essential oil and Malva sylvestris exhibits antioxidant and antimicrobial activity (24)The stability of low-fat mayonnaise was increased by the addition of 6% watermelon rind flour. It acts as a stabilizer with no deviation in moisture content, pH, and sensory profile when compared with the control sample (25)Various combinations of egg white, egg yolk, and soy protein are being used to form non-dairy cream mimics. With the addition of egg yolk, the level of polyunsaturated fatty acids (oleic and linoleic acids) increased. The optimal dissolving temperature for cream analog powder is 55-75°C (26)Soybean oil and soybean protein isolate were combined to develop non-dairy whipped cream (27). Vegan cream was formulated by admixing chickpea aquafaba, salt, xanthan gum, and sucrose to produce a stiff foamy structure (28)Avocados are enriched with monounsaturated fatty acids and phytosterols. Avocado puree was used to replace dairy fat in ice cream (29)

3) Cheese Analogues:

Cheese analogs resemble bovine milk cheese and are designated as partial dairy or non-dairy depending on the ingredient used in the cheese formulation. Casein is used as a protein source, it plays a major role in cheese analogs. Acid casein has a higher potential for water binding than rennet casein. In a mozzarella cheese analog, rennet casein confers a high degree of stretchability and firmness (30). Sodium caseinates are preferred over rennet casein in the fabrication of cheese spread analog. Peanut, cottonseed, and soy protein isolate are used alone or in combination with casein as vegetable source proteins. It produces a product with hardness, sticky body, and lack of elasticity if the addition level exceeds 20%, (31)Typical

fat sources are palm oil, soy oil, rapeseed oil, and coconut oil. In analogs, emulsifying salts are used such as citrate, lactate, phosphate, and tartrate with ammonium, potassium, or sodium and food-grade citric or lactic acids used at a rate of 0.2-1% and 0.1% preservatives (potassium sorbate, nisin, natamycin and calcium/ sodium propionate) are used. Flavor enhancers can also be used. This group of compounds includes glutamates and yeast autolysates. Colors are elective components that are usually added at a rate of 0.04%. Minerals and vitamins (magnesium, zinc, iron, vitamin A, B1,B2,B9)  are used as a dietary supplement at a concentration of 0.05% to meet nutritional equivocation to natural cheese, it may contain a nutritional value in addition to natural cheese (32)

Functional cheese prepared from peanut milk, fermented by Lactobacillus rhamnosus NCDC18 strain. The product showed the best solid recovery (51.7%), protein recovery (69.21%), and water retention properties (67.39%). The vegan cheese was made by replacing part of cow milk with 10% lentil milk and 3.5% inulin as a fat replacer had higher acceptance (33)Moringa oleifera seed, tamarind seed, lime juice, and alum are used as coagulants in the preparation of soy cheese (tofu). Moringa extract showed potent richer vitamin B, higher solid recovery and no coliform detection in tofu. To reduce the danger of malnutrition, vegan cheese was fabricated using 40% cashew milk and 60% soy milk combination. Naturally, it is a rich source of essential fatty acids (34). Pizza pie with mozzarella cheese as a topping is a popular fast food. Manufacturers are looking towards plant-based mozzarella cheese due to the high cost of bovine milk cheese. For mozzarella cheese analog, an aqueous phase containing 20% rice bran oil, 16% sodium caseinate, and 7.75% modified sodium caseinate yielded cheese analogs with improved stretchability and melting properties (35)In cheese spread analogs, butterfat is replaced with peanut cream fat at a ratio of 1:1 or 0:1. The resulting spread has been less cohesiveness and hardness than butterfat cheese (35)formulate cheese analog by combining coconut milk, soya milk (50:50) along with the addition of 0.1% rennet, 1.5% salt, 0.5% stabilizer, 1% preservative. The resultant product shelf life has been extended to 7 Days (36)Virgin coconut oil (VCO) was exploited as a milk fat substitute in low-fat cheese analogs. It lowers LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and phospholipids

levels. The results showed that 25 % VCO and 1% Tween-80 had a yield of 59.93%, moisture content of 54.62 %, and a fat content of 19.96% (37)The cheddar cheese analog was made from corn milk. This study found out the optimum proportion level of whey protein concentrate and emulsifier (Tween-80) on cheese analogs. 30% whey protein concentrate and 1% Tween-80 produced cheddar cheese analogs with 63.23% yield, 5.7 pH, 31.75% total dissolved solids, and 59.24 % moisture content (38)

 4) Non-Dairy Probiotic Products:

A probiotic product is an appealing choice for better gut health. Plant-based milk substitutes are fermented through the favorable fermentation process. Lactobacillus spp and Bifidobacterium spp are the most often used probiotic bacteria in the food industry since they have been approved as “Generally Recognized As Safe”, while Saccharomyces cerevisiae and S.Boulardii are probiotics that could be exploited in probiotic products (39). At least 106 colony forming units (CFU) per gram or ml of viable cells should be present in a probiotic product to be capable of providing 108-109 of viable cells in daily intake (40)Antioxidants were found to be increased in buckwheat, wheat germ, barley and rye after fermenting with L.rhamnosus and S.cerevisiae (41)Soybean fermentation with B.subtilis led to significant levels of Glu, Asp and other amino acids, all of which have multifaceted effects on increasing antioxidant effects and suppress blood pressure (42). L.rhamnosus and L.johnsonii La-1 along with yogurt cultures (L.bulgaricus & S.thermophilus) have been added to soy milk. Peanut-soy milk has been fermented with the six distinct lactic acid bacteria. In certain cases, collective cultures proved to be superior over single strain (43). The UV-C-T (coil tube type assisted thermal) technology has been used to prepare set yogurt from oat milk. E.coli K-12 was permanently inactivated and the syneresis value was minimal (44)The inclusion of raisins puree into coconut milk yogurt stimulates probiotic action while also increasing prebiotic level (45). Non-dairy yogurt formulated by using potato protein isolate and canola oil afterward homogenized at 200 MPa to form stable emulsions (46). Soymilk cultured with 5% kefir grains exhibited a probiotic count of 7 Log10 CFU/ml after 28 days of storage (47). The curd was fabricated from sesame milk fortified

with 5% lactose, 1% electrolyte salt mix, and 1% sucrose with 5% inoculum. The resultant curd has 6.70% protein, 6.91% fat and 0.925 ash (48)Cashew nut milk was scrutinized as a substrate for providing non-dairy probiotic drink (B.animalis, L.acidophilus, and L.plantarum). Throughout the storage time, B.animalis counts remained above 107 CFU/ml (49)

5) Non-dairy Frozen dessert:

The formulation of delicious treats from lowbush blueberries, soy protein, and coconut milk was formulated. It has a multitude of positive health impacts. Softy ice cream was prepared by partially replacing skim milk with soy milk with the addition of cocoa to mask beany flavor (50)Unfermented and fermented yam dough is used to make low-fat ice cream. The Leuconostoc lactic CCMA 0415 remained after three months of storage (51). Taro is a kind of root vegetable that is underused and inexpensive. Frozen treat prepared by using taro milk as an alternative for bovine milk as well as soy protein and pea protein (51)Protein and minerals particularly iron are widely present in soybean and watermelon. Frozen dessert was designed by combining 50% soy milk and watermelon seed milk with guava pulp was proven to be extremely nutritious and a rich source of ascorbic acid (53).


Milk is considered a complete food that provides energy for our day-to-day life. Recently, milk analogs gained consumer preference due to the presence of various bioactive phytoconstituents, the absence of cholesterol, and the emergence of a vegan diet. These products meet the high demand of consumers in terms of lifestyle and well. As a result, these technology innovations may have a significant impact on the development of new products and minimize the cost of production. Due to difficulties in the dairy industry such as high production cost, lactose intolerance, milk allergy, and lack of some essential nutrients, the nondairy product has a lot of scopes. In conclusion, it demonstrates that dairy analogs will become more prominent novel product innovation and is a specialized branch of food science and technology.


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