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How to Flip Your Frappe and help coffee go DefaultVeg

There’s a change brewing in the industry

The plant-based milk industry has been booming recently, the market growing year after year even as the dairy industry falters. Plantmilks now represent 40+% of all milk sold, its rise fueled in large part by younger generations who are eco-minded and racially diverse.12 Coffeeshops are adapting accordingly. To keep up with the demand for non-dairy, coffeeshops are moving beyond merely offering plant-based milks as an option. They’re flipping the norm and serving plantmilks as the default. This phenomenon is emerging worldwide, from Birch Coffee in New York to LinkedIn’s offices in San Francisco to Starbucks in Shanghai. You can flip the default too!

Start with the coffee you serve:

  • at committee meetings
  • in your house of worship
  • at the office
  • during soccer practice
  • at a potluck dinner
  • at HOA meetings

If you’re the one making drinks, use oatmilk or vegan creamer unless someone specifically requests dairy. (Just because someone takes their coffee with “cream and sugar” doesn’t mean you have to supply actual cream. Most people settle for milk, and traditional coffee “creamers” are dairy-free anyway!)

Maybe it’s your job to stock the office fridge? Set your team up for success and load up on plant-based milks instead of half-and-half.

When you’re setting out creamers at a party, proudly display the plantmilks front and center, making sure to keep the sustainable and inclusive options visible and accessible. If you know some folks will want cow’s milk, you can always keep a small reserve in the fridge for special requests.

Of course, the simplest way to go DefaultVeg is if you’re just making coffee for yourself and your family. It’s easy to drop the cow from your cortado, and make your morning cup DefaultVeg.

What if I get my coffee from a coffee shop?

Totally fine—your local businesses can flip the default, and you can help! Americans drink 60 million lattes3 every year, and specialty beverages like lattes usually come from quick service restaurants and cafes. Local shops are owned by real people who live right in your community, and they care about what customers want.

Start a conversation with your local coffee shop, campus cafe, or office manager. Let them know that an easy way to be inclusive of non-dairy clients is to flip to a non-dairy default—automatically making lattes and cappuccinos with oatmilk instead of cow’s milk, rather than by special request. You can share our quick-start guide with your shop to teach them why it’s in their best interest to go plant-based.

Put simply, businesses can sell coffee to more people if they replace dairy:

  • 30-50 million Americans experience some degree of lactose intolerance.3
  • Lactose intolerance is tied to race; people of Asian, African, Hispanic, and indigenous heritage are far more likely to be lactose intolerant than white Europeans.4
  • 30 percent of Millennials are trying to eat more plant-based foods. Among Gen Z, that number rockets to 60 percent.5

You can also mention that flipping the default can help businesses meet their sustainability goals. When Portland coffee shop Guilder removed its dairy default, vegan coffees became 18% more popular, reducing Guilder’s carbon footprint by 12%. After all, just one non-dairy latte saves 0.143 kg of carbon dioxide. That adds up quickly! Meanwhile, Onyx Coffee Lab’s favorite part of implementing an oatmilk default is the lower energy bill.6 They save electricity by using shelf-stable milks that don’t require refrigeration like cow’s milk does. Saving money on electricity while getting to serve more customers? Sounds like a recipe for success.

One-half of Americans drink coffee everyday. That’s millions of opportunities to rethink ritual, choose inclusion, and usher in a more sustainable future. Start your morning off right. Flip the script on your flat white, and make your coffee DefaultVeg.

Need help implementing a plantmilk default somewhere? Get in touch with us! We can help your favorite cafe go DefaultVeg.



2021 U.S. Retail Market Insights: Plant-Based Foods. Good Food Institute.


Teens Drink 550 Percent More Vegan Milk Than Gen X. VegNews. 2017.


NCA Releases Atlas of American Coffee. National Coffee Association. 2020.


Lactose Intolerance: Information for Health Care Providers. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. 2006.


Consumer Insights. Plant Based Foods Association. n.d.


Switching to Oat Milk – And Upping Sustainability. Urnex. 2021.