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Non-Dairy vs. Dairy-Free: What’s the Difference?

Non-Dairy vs. Dairy-Free:  What’s the Difference?

You’ve probably seen it, a protein shake on the shelf with the ‘Non-Dairy’ label. But did you know that the same shake may *still* contain a milk derivative?! We’ll give you the 411.

Non-dairy and dairy-free seem to have one factor in common — the absence of milk.

What you might not realize is that non-dairy products can still contain milk! Dairy-free means the complete absence of all dairy ingredients, including lactose. While non-dairy refers to products that can contain a milk derivative. You can find milk derivatives in non-dairy protein shakes, non-dairy creamer, and non-dairy cheeses.

A few milk derivative examples include:

  • Casein, caseinate
  • Whey, whey powder
  • Lactose, milk sugar
  • Dry milk powder
  • Non-fat milk powder

The distinction between non-dairy and dairy-free is important when you have a milk allergy or intolerance, or are following a vegan diet. The quickest way to identify a product that contains milk derivatives is by looking for “contains: milk” on the ingredient list.

You might be wondering how products can contain dairy, even though they are labeled non-dairy. Many years ago, a regulation was created to prevent dairy consumers from mistaking dairy-like foods for dairy products. It wasn’t intended to help dairy-free consumers from identifying foods with milk ingredients.

OWYN’s vegan protein shakes are 100% dairy-free and never contain any dairy or milk derivatives. Every ingredient and the finished product are tested to ensure there is no cross contact with the top 8 allergens, including milk.

OWYN Dark Chocolate Protein Shake Bottle

Protein Shakes

20g of plant protein with allergen-friendly ingredients, a multi-source plant protein blend, superfood greens, and vegan omega-3s. Rich & decadent in flavor, ideal for on-the-go.

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Some helpful tips that make it easy to identify a dairy-free product include:

  • Look for trusted brands
  • Check the food allergen list
  • Look for the vegan logo
  • Confirm with a health expert
  • Read all the ingredients
  • Avoid products that say “contains: milk”
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