Soy milk as a non-lactose beverage has risen in popularity over the years. A great-tasting alternative to standard milk products, soy milk (along with other lactose free milk alternatives such as almond milk and rice milk) adds variety to cereals, coffee and is suitable for baking and other milk needs. However, soy milk should not be used as an alternative to baby formula, as it is not made for the sensitive stomachs of babies, nor does it meet their specific nutritional needs.
Two giants in the soy beverage field are Soy Dream and Silk. Both have a wonderful taste, have great nutritional benefits for those who can drink and enjoy drinking soy products, and both are affordable and readily available in most grocery stores. According to their respective Wikipedia entries, Soy Dream was founded in 1993 by the Hain Celestial Group, a company which has a solid history of offering a number of healthy food and beverage products; Silk was founded in 1978, offered their first product in 1996 and quickly became a leading go-to for soy milk drinkers. So which one should consumers choose?
Nutritional Benefits: Soy milk offers nutritional benefits comparable to regular milk. It is a great source of potassium, which is necessary for good circulation and which can prevent swelling in the extremities for those with potassium deficiency. Protein is another benefit that most people look for in the milk alternative. Each company’s products are high in protein, but Soy Dream contains 7g of protein to Silk’s 5g. Each brand’s soy foods and beverages are calcium enriched and also contain other essential vitamins and minerals.
Flavors: Both brands offer a number of flavors to choose from. According to their website, Silk offers Original, Unsweetened Organic, Vanilla, Very Vanilla, Chocolate, Light Vanilla, Light Original, DHA Omega 3 enriched, and regular Organic among others. They also offer yogurt. Soy Dream’s website indicates they offer similar flavors; however, they do not offer DHA Omega 3 enriched or light soy milk. They have a larger variety of soy desserts such as ice cream alternatives and soy dessert “ice cream” sandwiches.
Price: Silk and Soy Dream are relatively affordable, though they can be a bit pricier than regular milk. Each company’s products range anywhere from $3 – $5, with a few cents difference here and there depending on which store consumers purchase from, region and sale offers. Silk also offers coupons on their site for those who sign up.
Taste: Each brand tastes pretty good, for those who like soy milk, and the differences are really a matter of personal preference. Soy Dream tends to be a bit smoother in consistency, but the flavored offerings are a bit lighter in taste. The consistency of Silk can be gritty, but the flavored soy milks have a more distinct, robust taste.
Verdict: Silk and Soy Dream are about neck-and-neck when it comes to which one is better. Due to the similarities in brands, consumers will likely have to try each and decide which fits his or her personal preference and budget.
Note on soy allergy: For those who have any kind of allergies, please consult your doctor before eating or drinking soy products. Many people have a hidden allergy to soy beans, and the results of a reaction can range from the very mild and almost unnoticeable to serious and fatal.
References: http://www.silk.com; http://www.tastethedream.com; http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/silk_(soy_milk); http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hain_Celestial_Group; http://www.wikipedia.org/soy_allergy