Nobody wanted to like Ripple yogurt more than me. As a recently diagnosed lactose intolerant person who loves ice cream, cheese, and yogurt more than most things, I’ve been having a hard time cutting down on dairy. So this week I decided to give Ripple, a brand about which I’d heard some great things, a go.
I bought their single-serve Greek Yogurt Alternative in strawberry flavor, which packs a whopping 12g of protein in its 150g serving size — roughly the same protein as dairy yogurt. Ripple is made of pea protein, meaning it’s soy and nut-free and safe for those with allergies. It also has added active cultures, meaning it’s gut-friendly like dairy yogurt.
I was optimistic when I dug in. Sadly, that optimism disappeared almost immediately.
The texture of the yogurt was actually pretty good: it was creamy and thick, not exactly Greek yogurt-level thick but still impressive. But the taste, sadly, was straight-up bad. The strawberry flavor came through lightly — there are pieces of strawberry throughout the yogurt — but it had an overwhelmingly artificial flavor, which led to a bitter, unpleasant aftertaste. The yogurt somehow dried out my mouth and tasted gritty, though its texture was smooth. Someone sitting across from me at my office noticed my disgusted face and asked me if I was okay. I threw it away after a few bites.
A harsh review, I know. I wish it wasn’t. I’m one of the growing number of people purchasing dairy alternatives for health or ethical reasons. I’m all for non-dairy products that don’t use almonds, which are very water-intensive and are pretty protein-poor. Ripple could have fulfilled my dairy-free needs while assuaging my environmental guilt — and pea protein has served us so well with Beyond burgers!
Ripple, which launched in 2016, also makes pea milk in original, vanilla, and chocolate flavors, a product called “half-and-half,” and recently debuted nutrition powders and shakes. I haven’t tried any of their other products, but after my experience with their yogurt, I’m not really rushing to the store.
According to Crunchbase, so far Ripple has raised $108.6 million in funding. That’s some serious dairy-free dough. But while their product seems like it would hit the sweet spot, it left me with a (literal) bitter taste in my mouth. If they can’t get me — a millennial consumer who avoids dairy, is open to plant-based alternatives and enjoys trying new products — to buy their yogurt, who will?
Perhaps I’ll have better luck with coconut yogurt, which my colleague Jenn Marston tried and liked — though I’ll have to find my protein somewhere else. And maybe when lab-made dairy products, like the ones that Perfect Day is developing the technology for, come to market, they’ll be able to eliminate that pesky lactose and still make tangy yogurt and gooey mozzarella and all the things I hold so dear. Until then, it looks like I’m having toast for breakfast.
Update: Ripple Foods’ PR team reached out to me with this to say:
We saw your recent review on The Spoon and wanted to apologize for your not so delicious experience as well as share that the brand is definitely listening and will be working to revamp the yogurt line over the next few months. They want to provide consumers with a quality product and feel the current one needs some tweaks.