Earlier this year Good Hemp de-fortified their hemp-based milk-replacement drink of calcium and vitamin D — a move met with frustration by some in the food allergy community, for whom the drink served as a key dairy free and allergen-safe alternative, as it was not only free of all 14 EU nominated food allergens, but also pea and other legumes, which are an additional problem for many.
Good Hemp’s reasoning that they “wanted to make a product that was as close to the hemp seed as possible, and fortifying our hemp drink with calcium no longer felt like the right choice”, and their follow-up advice to instead source calcium from foods such as figs, tofu and collard greens, did not go down well with the allergy community. As allergy mum Laurna Hunter astutely observed, “Males aged 11-17 need 1g of calcium a day. Try doing that with spinach and chia seeds”.
Perhaps counter-intuitively, the trend for additional vegan options does not appear to have helped matters, with many of the new milk-alternative drinks either carrying ‘may contain’ warnings (including for milk itself) or lacking fortification — or both. Furthermore, many are nut or soya based.
Here are some of the fortified options currently available, which will be added to in due course. Also listed are some non-fortified but ’14 free’ options. This is a work in progress, so please double check ‘may contain’ warnings unless explicitly stated to be safe; I’m still following up with brands on the precise status of one or two. Do comment if you have further information or know of additional safe products.
Fortified ’14 Free’ Milks (Coconut-based)
UFC Velvet Coconut Milk Unsweetened
This milk, from a Thai-based company, looks to be free from all 14 allergens, is fortified with calcium and vitamin D, and is declared free from gluten, lactose / milk, and soya. No ‘may contain’ apparent online, but awaiting to hear from the manufacturer, as UFC also produce an almond milk.
Koko Dairy Free Milk Alternatives
A selection of coconut-based milks, many of them fortified. Some include broad bean, and others risk containing traces, so be warned if legume allergies are a factor.
Coconut Dream Original Calcium Enriched
With Calcium, D2 and B12.
Fortified ’14 Free’ Milks (Rice-based)
Riso Scotti Organic Rice Drink with Calcium
Calcium but not vitamin-fortified, but otherwise looks top-allergy and coeliac safe.
Alpro Rice Original
With calcium and vitamins B12 and D.
Rice Dream Original Calcium Enriched
With added calcium, D and B12. (Autumn 2019 update: Due to a temporary factory move, some cartons currently appearing with ‘manufactured in a facility’ warnings for milk and soya.)
Fortified ’14 Free’ Milks (Pea-based)
The Mighty Society Pea Mylk
Fortified with calcium and vitamins. Comes in Original — which is apparently very sweet — and Unsweetened.
Qwrkee Plant Based Pea M’lk
Based on split yellow peas, this is fortified with calcium, iodine, iron, and vitamins A, B2, B12 and D. Comes in sweetened and unsweetened varieties.
Fortified, but contain oats …
Alpro Oat Original
Not ’14 free’ and not suitable for coeliacs as it contains non-GF oats, but vitamin and calcium fortified and no ‘may contains’ so would be suitable for most food allergy children, though probably best avoided in the case of wheat allergy due to possible contamination of oats with wheat flour.
Sproud Original Pea Milk
Another of the newer pea-y products, though it does contain ‘gluten free oat oil’, so not suitable for those with a sensitivity to oats, but otherwise OK for coeliacs. Fortified with calcium and many vitamins. A Barista variety is also available.
Non-fortified ’14 free’ options (Hemp)
Good Hemp Creamy Seed Drink
The new formulation is just water, hemp seed base and gellan gum.
Ecomil Hemp Milk
Another hemp-based alternative, which appears to be 14-free. Contains water, hemp, tapioca and sunflower lecithin.
Sojade So Hemp Unsweetened Milk
This one appears to be just water and hemp. Uncertain regarding ‘may contain’ warnings so please check before you buy.
Non-fortified ’14 free’ options (Tiger Nuts)
Morrison’s Free From Tiger Nut Drink
Made with water, tiger nuts, rice and gellan gum.
Rude Health Tiger Nut Drink
Just water, rice, tiger nuts and salt.
The Tiger Nut Company Tiger Nut Milk
Looks 14-free. Made with water, tiger nuts, tapioca, pea protein and cinnamon.
Non-fortified ’14 free’ (other)
Rude Health Longlife Unsweetened Brown Rice Milk
Just water, brown rice, sunflower oil, salt.
A note on coconut-based milks …
Koko (see above) offer the best selection, with no ‘may contain’ for the top 14 allergens.
Some supermarket own brands of coconut drinks are fortified, but carry precautionary warnings for nuts and/or peanuts, though are otherwise safe for other top allergens. They include Asda’s (both chilled and long-life varieties), and Tesco’s (here). It’s the same with Alpro’s Organic Coconut drink.
There are many others, both fortified and unfortified, which may suit your needs, including by Plenish, Lucy Bee and Rude Health.
Thanks especially to Gill Cain for suggestions.