The East Bay EDA (Economic Development Alliance) held its annual Innovation Awards last Thursday March 9th at Oakland’s Fox Theater. Bringing home the award for most Innovative Food category was Emeryville-based Ripple Foods who edged out competitor Blossom Foods.
Ripple makes a non-dairy alternative to “milk” from peas using a proprietary process. The annual EDA awards ceremony celebrates our regions “Culture of Innovation” and recognizes up-and-coming innovators and leaders that “help keep the East Bay at the forefront of innovation in our nation.”
Ripple’s use of peas are said to be a more “sustainable” alternative to other non-dairy milk alternatives as they require less water to grow than nut-based competitors and are a nutritious alternative for vegans and those with dairy, nut or soy allergies. Ripple’s products are also said to offer as much protein, half the sugar and more calcium than dairy milk.
Producing Ripple Milk uses 93% less water than dairy, nut or soy milk and their packaging is made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic according to their website. Ripple is also a registered Benefit Corporation which is a certification for corporations that “meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.”
Ripple is not without its challenges as the label “milk” is being contested by Dairy Farmers who have taken legal action to prevent non-dairy alternatives from using the label. Dairy farmers say the practice misleads consumers into thinking that non-dairy milk is nutritionally similar to milk from mammals. Ripple refutes this claim noting that it has the same protein content as 2% dairy milk among other benefits. Dairy farmers are also contesting the labels “yogurt” & “cheese” in non-dairy products. Ripple has also launched a “not milk?” online campaign to educate and promote its stance.
Ripple Milk is now sold in over 3,500 stores nation-wide including Target and Whole Foods and working to offer plant-based yogurt, children’s food, cheese, protein shakes and ice cream products.
The East Bay EDA notes its primary purpose as economic development as well as maintaining and growing a healthy economy through business attraction, retention, and development activities. View their reel that includes former Emeryville business The Bread Project below.
Feature Image: FourPointsEmeryville via Twitter.