Concentrated concept: Ulu Hye develops new dairy-free milk category with ‘world-first’ nut and seed mylk bases
Generally, consumers are advised to consume opened dairy or non-dairy milks within four to five days, but most of these products come in 1L sizes, so it is not uncommon for smaller families or single consumers to have to throw expired milk away.
“Food waste is a very real issue, and it is very common for unused milk to be poured down the sink – what we aimed to do with our concentrated bases is to enable consumers to make what they want, when they want and not have to either force themselves to finish up a whole litre in a few days if they don’t want to, or waste that by pouring it away,” Ulu Hye Co-Founder Heidi Peuten told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“Unopened, each jar has a shelf life of two years, and once opened it can last two to three months stored in a cool, dark space and untouched by moisture.
“Our concentrated bases are a world-first concept, so it’s not just a new product but an entirely new category within the plant-based dairy sector, which opens up lots of possibilities.”
Currently sold in 300g glass jars, each jar of Ulu Hye’s Mylk Bases can make 10 litres of nut or seed milk by adding water, and if desired, a sweetener. It also has an original Nut Mylk Base made from cashews, macadamias and almonds, an Almond Mylk Base, a Hazelnut Mylk Base and a Hemp Mylk Base.
“For the Hemp Mylk Base, we blend in sunflower seeds for the taste, to complement the earthy tones of hemp seeds. All of the Mylk Bases have no additives and are unsweetened but do contain some macrobiotic sea salt,” said Peuten.
“Each 300g jar currently has a RRP of A$29.95 (US$22.09), and because this can make 10 litres of milk, each litre comes up to around just A$2.99 (US$2.21), which is far lower than the pricing of other plant-based milks in Australia where each litre of a premium, healthy product would be above A$5 (US$3.69) and lower-range ones with gums and other additives are about A$3.50 (US$2.58).”
That said, she concurred that the overall retail pricing per large jar is still quite hefty at the moment for smaller families or single consumers due to the high initial costs of using premium ingredients, and revealed plans to launch smaller jars to cater to this demographic.
“At present, a lot of our most enthusiastic consumers are larger families that go through a lot of milk and are short of time but want a healthy option that is as close to homemade milk as possible,” she said.
“We are aware that because our current packaging is for 10 litres of milk, the overall price is high and likely there are consumers that don’t have the means to pay for such a huge portion or are not willing to buy so much at a go – this is why we are launching jars for three litres soon, hoping to tap these markets and get people to at least give it a try.”
Apart from reducing food waste and lower prices, Peuten also believes that this new dairy-free milk concept has the potential to solve many sustainable packaging issues.
“In Australia, milk is generally sold in plastic cartons by the litre, and many of these cartons go to landfill – based on our concept, the glass jars can be reused and will thus reduce the overall plastic use and carbon footprint,” she added.
Ulu Hye’s concentrated Mylk Bases are available in over 250 health food stores, bulk food stores and independent supermarkets across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. The plan is to launch into major supermarkets in Australia next year, and look to new markets in Asia, EU, the US and UK post-COVID-19.
Apart from the Mylk Bases, Ulu Hye also has a range of plant-based DIY condiments such as mayonnaise, ranch sauce and hollandaise.
“These come as powders which can just be mixed with water and any oil of your choice and blended to become the condiment,” said Peuten.
“This reduces the amount of oil consumed, as the only oil included is what the consumer adds to it, making the condiment much lower in fats, and the ingredients are also clean and plant-based.
“Each 60g jar makes six cups of sauce, so the concept is the same for longer shelf-life and reduced food wastage, as well as the reduction of plastic bottles used to hold regular condiments.”
Moving forward, the firm will focus on developing more new products to add to their portfolio.
“We currently have a Chocolate Mylk Base made based on hazelnuts which is a seasonal flavoured product, and in a few more weeks we’ll also be launching a Strawberry Mylk Base,” she said.
“More are on the way this year, and we’ll also be focusing on developing recipes for use with our products to show consumers more ways to utilize them.”
Ulu Hye has been named a Top 45 finalist in Rabobank’s FoodBytes! Pitch 2021 programme, and will be competing for the top spot in a live-streamed public pitch competition in November.