Elmhurst Dairy, owned by Max and Arthur Schwartz, processed dairy from local farms and delivered it to New Yorkers for a stable 90 year period, that’s almost a century of service! The company saw a 180-degree flip when CEO Henry Schwartz, Max’s son, changed the company’s name and dramatically changed its facilities from pasteurizing milk and making yogurt to producing completely vegan milk.
They grind hazelnuts, almonds, cashews and walnuts with water, press and then filter it. What is produced finally is bottled vegan milk now known as ‘Elmhurst’s cold-milled nut milk’.
What led to the big turn from dairy to vegan milk?
Henry Schwartz answered this question by saying that he has seen the many benefits of being on a plant-based diet, which he follows himself for health reasons. He decided to switch the company’s focus to plant-based beverages because he’d recognized the enormous potential in the industry and wanted to improve vegan beverages that already exist. He explained that he flipped Elmhurst with the perspective of delivering sustainable, high-quality nutrition to the customers.
The research that went behind formulating the vegan milk.
The CEO said that he surveyed the existing products offered by plant-based beverage brands and then recruited Dr. Cheryl Mitchell, who helped launch Elmhurst Milked and has been innovating in the vegan food industry for a long time now. She has devoted her career to finding means to extract nutrition from grains, nuts and seeds in a way that delivers a beverage that’s appealing to customers without destroying the plants’ innate nutritional value. Dr. Cheryl Mitchell is an expert on plant-based drinks, and her patented cold-milling technology is being utilized in the production of Elmhurst Milked’s line.
How hard was the revamping of a 90-year-old business?
Schwartz explained that revamping the business was reasonably seamless. Their sister company has a grand processing and aseptic packaging facility in Elma, New York, ever since their yogurt processing days. The facility was a significant match for the equipment required to start Elmhurst Milked, so the production moved from Jamaica, New York to Elma. The equipment needed for Dr. Mitchell’s cold-milling technology and a fantastic team of food scientists and quality control professionals were recruited.
The rebranding didn’t seem to be a big problem, said Schwartz. Their customers weren’t confused by the flip, and many former Elmhurst Dairy customers actually embraced these new beverages because they trust the brand Elmhurst. The brand is still serving a high quality product that tastes amazing, it’s just now made from plants instead of dairy.
Where do the nuts come from?
Their walnuts and almonds are sourced from farmers in California, hazelnuts from farmers in Oregon, and cashews from Brazil.
Does switching to nuts help on the sustainable front?
Plant-based beverages have nutrients that come from primary sources like nuts, grains, legumes and seeds, which grow on fewer agricultural inputs than secondary sources like cows. The final product is more environmentally friendly and has a high nutrient content that can surpass even the highest quality of dairy milk.
Dr. Mitchell’s patented milking technology ensures that there is essentially no waste, and every part of the plant is used. Everything that they don’t use in the production of milk is consumed by their sister company to make other products like protein bars.
Apart from the health and environmental goods, does the vegan milk offer other benefits?
Plant-based milk is actually quite versatile, it tastes quite good and is high in protein, low in sugar and can be used in coffee, tea, cereal and smoothies.
Vegan milk can also replace traditional dairy milk in cooking and baking. Its high protein content and foaming quality make it perfect for lattés and cappuccinos.