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Does Soy Milk Need Refrigeration or Not?

Does Soy Milk Need to Be Refrigerated?

Soy milk, once opened, requires refrigeration and should be consumed within five days. Prior to being opened, however, soy milk actually doesn't require chilling, and has an unrefrigerated shelf life of at least one year. Then why, might you ask, is it is sold refrigerated in the milk aisle while other brands go unrefrigerated next to rice milk?

The answer might surprise you: It's primarily for marketing reasons. When it entered the market more than a fifteen years ago, the now-bestselling soy milk brand, White Wave, aimed to compete head to head with cow milk. They arranged for the product to be sold in traditional gable-top milk cartons and lobbied for grocers to place its product, Silk soy milk, in the dairy case, to convey the image of being freshly made. In reality, there is little nutritional difference between refrigerated and unrefrigerated soy milk — both are made by mixing a dry soy mixture with water.

Image Source: Getty
Anna-Monette-Roberts Anna-Monette-Roberts 4 years
jo-jo-ba: According to this story, the milk carton versions don't necessarily have to be refrigerated. But I would always read the labels before attempting anything!
jo_jo_ba jo_jo_ba 4 years
Does this just apply to the Tetra-Pak versions? Here it comes in aseptic packs (shelf stable) and standard "milk carton" versions (in the frig. section)
Ladytron7000 Ladytron7000 8 years
Less packaging too.
Ladytron7000 Ladytron7000 8 years
So...why don't they just sell powdered soy milk that we can mix with water. That sure would cut down on shipping costs and make it greener.
TwoBlackDogs TwoBlackDogs 8 years
Well, coconuts don't have nipples either, but I've never heard anyone object to the term "coconut milk"! And cows don't really have nipples, either, they have udders!
ilaphalot ilaphalot 8 years
i use vanilla silk to make french toast it is soo good
Bksuga Bksuga 8 years
wow good to know i always wanted to know the difference, so does this go for all like almond milk too
MzKita MzKita 8 years
*scratches head* U don't say...
jen1975 jen1975 8 years
Almond milk is awesome, too, and doesn't have the weird taste you have to get used to with soy milk.
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
LOL Smack! My boyfriend always says the same thing. "It's not soy milk! Soy beans don't have nipples!"
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Smack, I'm glad you brought up the very name of it! It really is soy juice, if you think about it.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Hmmm not a fan of soy has too much of a sweet taste to it for me...
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
It's all about marketing. Thay are trying to make people think it's just like milk so they can compete for people's dairy dollars. Thats why its in the same shaped container, thats why a lot of soymilks add a lot of extra flavoring (because real soymilk is not as sweet and even a little "bean-y" tasting). I think that's why they also call it soy-MILK, because people may not want to try something called
s10 s10 8 years
Im so glad you posted this question. I was just at the grocery store last night and was wondering why the soy milk wasn't refrigerated. I want to try it, now I definitely will :)
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
Correct me if I'm wrong, Chinese soy milk is not fortified with calcium and vitamins. I think there's a unsweetened version, and a regular sweetened one. As far as nutrition, Silk is better. I drink Unsweetened Silk.
Food Food 8 years
Fab dearest — the same goes for Rice Dream. It keeps up to a year sealed, and after opening should be consumed within 5 days (7 to 10 days max). That said, I do think the recommended shelf life is always a little on the generous side. :-)
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
This is why I started buying soymilk instead of cow's milk. Because I can buy several packages of soymilk and store then in the pantry until I open one. Then I refrigerated it. If I could just find non-fat Parmalat in the stores regularly, I'd but that too.
eowynnie eowynnie 8 years
Like wunami, I also love Chinese soy milk! Especially the kind that's tinted green... I'm told it's because that soy milk has been infused with some kind of leaf, but all I know is that it's delicious stuff. That said, I also love plain Silk. Delicious!
cybele cybele 8 years
What a stupid waste of energy.
wunami wunami 8 years
I can't drink "American" soy milk. I much prefer the Chinese ones since that's what I've grown up on. It doesn't taste like cow milk and doesn't try to taste like cow milk. products cause male infertility. Yay.
emalove emalove 8 years
Interesting! I love the vanilla Silk soy milk.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
Yeah, I always kinda figured that's why they put it in the refrigerated section. Kinda like how they strategically put the powdered coffee creamers in the coffee aisle or how they put drink mixers near the liquor section.
ashopaholic ashopaholic 8 years
I have always wondered this, thanks for the answer!
smileyface smileyface 8 years
This is interesting. I just started drinking soy milk on a regular basis. I buy silk and my grocery store its always in the refrigerated section next to the regular milk.
mudnessa mudnessa 8 years
well great timing, my husband was just asking the other nite at the store why there is an aisle with the same type of soy milk we buy and we buy it in the refrigerated section. the packaging is different but i didnt know what else was different and why it wasnt refrigerated.
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