Cows' Milk vs. Plant-Based: A Nutritional Comparison

According to data from the USDA’s economic research service, US per capita dairy milk consumption decreased by 22% between 2000 and 2016. Why the downward trend?

This trend partially stems from digestive issues, but a percentage of it can be attributed to misconceptions about cows' milk. Many people think that plant-based milk is healthier than cows' milk. But the numbers on the labels just don’t add up!

We did a little digging to compare cows' milk to plant-based milk nutritional profiles and have displayed it in an easy-to-read milk comparison chart below. All numbers are a percentage of the Daily Value which is used to recommend nutrient intake levels to prevent deficiencies.

Milk Comparison Chart

Other than the strong levels of vitamins and minerals, milk contains only three ingredients: milk, vitamin D, and vitamin A. The rest of the nutrients are naturally occurring, meaning they are delivered to your body in their natural form.

Below are details outlined in the infographic above.  This includes the daily value of each nutrient and whether it’s naturally occurring or fortified.


Calcium: Daily Value = 1000mg

Milk: 300mg = 30% DV; naturally occurring

Soy: 300mg = 30% DV; fortified with Tricalcium Phosphate & Calcium Carbonate

Almond: 520mg = 52% DV; fortified with Calcium Carbonate

Pea: 450mg = 45% DV; fortified with Calcium Phosphate


Vitamin D: Daily Value = 400IU

D3 is what your body produces when your skin is exposed to sunlight and is the body’s preferred source of Vitamin D. D2 is a plant source of Vitamin D and may not be as good at raising blood levels of Vitamin D as D3.*

Milk: 120IU = 30% DV; fortified with Vitamin D3

Soy: 100IU = 25% DV; fortified with Vitamin D2

Almond: 110IU = 30% DV; fortified with Vitamin D2

Pea: 120IU = 30% DV; fortified with Vitamin D2


Riboflavin: Daily Value = 1.7mg

Milk: 0.45mg = 25% DV; naturally occurring

Soy: 0.44mg = 25% DV; fortified with vitamin blend

Almond: 0.123mg = 6% DV; naturally occurring


Vitamin B12: Daily Value = 6mcg

Milk: 1.29mcg = 20%DV; naturally occurring

Soy: 2mcg = 30% DV; fortified with vitamin Blend

Almond: 0mcg = 0% DV


Protein: Daily Value = 50g

Milk: 8g = 16% DV; naturally occurring

Soymilk: 6g = 12% DV; naturally occurring

Almond: 1.55g = 3% DV; naturally occurring

Pea: 8g = 16% DV; naturally occurring


Potassium: Daily Value = 3500mg

Milk: 340mg = 10% DV; naturally occurring

Soy: 300mg = 9% DV; naturally occurring

Almond: 176mg = 5% DV; naturally occurring

Pea: 451mg = 13% DV; naturally occurring


Vitamin A: Daily Value = 5,000IU

Milk: 464 IU = 10% DV when fortified;5% DV naturally occurring + 5% from fortification with Vitamin A palmitate

Soy: 450IU = 10% DV; fortified with vitamin A palmitate

Almond: 372IU = 7% DV; fortified with Vitamin A palmitate

Pea: 499IU = 10% DV; fortified with vitamin A palmitate

Drink real cows' milk for your health; it’s one of the easiest ways to get your daily recommendations of all of these important nutrients!



Milk reference: USDA Nutrient Database Standard Reference #01079 “Milk, reduced fat, fluid, 2% milkfat, with added vitamin A and vitamin D”.
Soymilk reference: USDA Nutrient Database Standard Reference #16139 “Soymilk, original and vanilla with added calcium, vitamins A and D”.
Almond beverage reference: USDA Nutrient Database Standard Reference #14091 “Beverage, almond milk, unsweetened, shelf stable”.
Pea: USDA Nutrient Database Branded Food Products #45138170 “Nutritious Pea Milk” by Ripple Foods.
*Trypkovic et al., Comparison of vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 supplementation in raising serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D status: a systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2012;95(6):1357-1364.

The a2 Milk® difference

Our a2 Milk® comes from cows that naturally produce only the natural A2 protein. a2 Milk® is 100% real milk that’s easier on digestion and may help some avoid discomfort.

Rethink Your Milk

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* No significant difference has been shown between milk from rBST-treated and non rBST-treated cows

a2 Milk® is not suitable for anyone medically diagnosed with lactose intolerance, galactosaemia or cows’ milk allergy

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