yeah i just dont get it. i have so many boxes of things that i can keep in a cupboard for ages and only put in the fridge after i open it, but then you can buy the same stuff in a different brand and it has to go in the fridge right away... it's confusing
Isnt non refriderated soy milk like UHT milk? Heated or something before it's packaged to prolong it's life? Or maybe it's just a bit of clever marketting. Package something a little differently, make us think it's fresher and beter for us, so we'll pay more for it.
I think it's because the packages on the shelf are aseptically sealed, meaning all microorganisms have been killed, while the refrigerated packages have only been pasteurized, mean only certain microorganisms have been killed.
i'd guess that its something very similar to regular milk, fruit juices, yogurts and silken tofu, etc. things like that can come UHT sealed (shelf stable), and not UHT sealed (in the chiller).
basically, if its UHT treated, then it means its been super heat treated to kill bacteria, and sealed in special air tight packaging. it then doesn't require refridgeration while it remains sealed, and in date- cos germs and air can't get in, so it can't go bad.
if its not UHT sealed, or its been opened and oxgyen has got into it, then it needs to stay in the fridge and be used quicker, cos germs can grow in it, and it can go bad.
There are safety concerns as others have said, but I have a theory in addition to this.
When soy milk first hit the markets people probably had a hard time accepting "milk" that wasn't refridgerated. The soy milk makers realized this and created a refridgerated version that people would find more acceptable and probably saw a revenue increase that when they sold refridgerated versions.
I just knew someone would ask about the health aspect...
j/k! It was a thing I was wondering myself as well.
But I found it's also a bit hard to answer because not all plant milk makers make both shelf-stable AND cold-case versions of their product (at least, not that I've seen, anyway). The only company that does, AFAIK, is Silk.
So I went onto the Silk site (www.silksoymilk.com) and looked up the nutritional info for cold-case Silk and shelf-stable Silk and here's what I found:
Plain Silk - No difference at all between the two.
Silk Vanilla Flavour - Cold case version has magnesium, zinc and selenium added in. The shelf-stable version has phosphorus, iodine, magnesium, zinc and selenium added in. The rest of the nutrients are exactly the same.
Silk Unsweetened flavour - The shelf-stable version has more sodium to it than the cold-case version (120mg vs 85mg). It also has one more gram of carbs to it than the cold-case version does (5g carbs vs. 4g). The cold-case version also has magnesium, zinc and selenium added in while the shelf-stable version has phosphorus and zinc added in. The rest of the nutrients are exactly the same.
The Very Vanilla and Chocolate are hard to compare because there is no shelf-stable version available except for single-serve. Single-serve serving sizes are 244 ml while shelf-stable quart serving sizes are 240ml. Based on this, I would have to estimate that the nutrients listed are simular in amounts (I say "based on", because my math sucks!
) . The cold-case version does seem to have selenium while the shelf-stable version does not, though.
The other Silk flavours (Enhanced, etc) are not made in a shelf-stable version so I couldn't compare them at all.
Oh, and FWIW, I prefer shelf-stable versions of plant milk over cold-case versions. It's much easier to stock up when there's a sale on and they last practically "forever", no matter what (I had a power outage this past Dec. that lasted 4 days and if I had had any soymilk in my frig at the time, I would have lost it all for sure. As it was, though, my stash of shelf-stable stuff was still good so I was able to put a carton on for the chill when my power was restored and yes, I enjoyed that carton muchly).
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