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May 30, 2010 10:04 AM

Types of soy milk

In grocery stores there are packages of soy milk in the refrigerator sections, and those on regular shelves. What is the difference?

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  1. Here's a link explaining asceptic packaging. Aside from the packaging technique used for storage, there is virtually no difference in flavor and nutrient value between refrigerated and packaged shelf-stable soy milk.

    This link documents someone's side by side taste comparison opinion:

    1 Reply
    1. The processing. The shelf-stable products have undergone UHT (ultra high temperature) processing. Same with regular milk--there are cartons of Parmalat milk on regular shelves and "normal" cartons in the refrigerated section.

      1 Reply
      1. re: nofunlatte

        Just for my side by side taste comparison opinion, Parmalat brand 1% shelf stable milk tastes like refrigerated 1% milk.

      2. Read the ingredient lists carefully. There is a big difference between traditional Asian soybean milk (water, soybeans and maybe a little salt or sugar) which, unless in canned form, must be refrigerated and the soy milks made as substitutes for cow's milk.

        3 Replies
        1. re: alycon

          And what are the differences? The inclusion of vitamins, calcium and naturally occuring soy omega-3 fatty acids? Cane juice, as opposed to refined sugar? Lactic acid and live cultures? Are these fortifications bad components?

          Btw, the ingredients in Asian or US produced soy milk has nothing to do with whether it's refrigerated or aseptically packaged.

          Why would soy milk be considered a substitute for cow's milk? Isn't drinking soy a personal choice, not a substitute for something else?

          1. re: bushwickgirl

            Yes, those are some of the ingredients that are different in the two types.

            I don't make a value judgement as to whether the the Asian style vs Western style or the fortifications are good or bad. I merely note that their chemistries are different. The chemistries of the different formulations have an effect on their storage life.

            What I do know is that regardless of I buy or make the Asian style soybean milk , I usually have to make sure I finish the batch in a relatively short time (within a week for homemade; by the expiration date on the package for manufactured) or else the products start to ferment or "gas" up and resulting in extreme GI distress for me. (Unless, as I noted previously, it's in a can.)

            1. re: alycon

              "start to ferment or "gas" up and resulting in extreme GI distress for me"

              I unfortunately have similar but infrequent problems with soy products. But I have been thinking about switching from cow's milk to soy, as I have a little lactose issue and I'm not so crazy about cow's milk anymore, anyway.