Meet Robert Lewis and his girlfriend Hannah Larn, founders of the first plant-based milk delivery service in the UK, Nuts About Milk.
Made in the heart of Toxteth, Nuts About Milk creates freshly made, fully organic, plant-based milk, which comes in reusable glass bottles and is delivered by bicycle to your door in time for breakfast. The Toxteth-based couple behind the company met in the Kazimier in Liverpool, where Robert was the technical manager and Hannah was working behind the bar.
According to Robert, the idea for Nuts About Milk came out of necessity. “I turned vegan about two years ago and at the same time The Kazimier, where I worked, was closed down, and so I was looking for a new field to get involved in and it turned out that making my own nut milk solved a lot of problems. Rather than spending a lot of money buying it from supermarkets, and then recycling all of the cartons, making my own in glass bottles seemed to solve both of those problems.”, he says.
A year later they were in New York, because Hannah was working there on a peace-building policy for the Quaker United Nations Office, and the couple began experimenting with the idea of Nuts About Milk.
I ‘heart’ Nuts About Milk
“I thought “we need a graphic designer” so I just emailed Milton Glaser saying we’re the UK’s first plant-based milk delivery service, and he got straight back to me.” says Robert. (Milton Glaser being an 86-year-old graphic designer, best known for creating the “I heart NYC” logo – yes, that guy).
“He’s got a Congressional Medal of Honor for the arts from President Obama hanging on the wall in his office, and yet for some reason he was having a meeting with me – and decided he liked the idea! He said he would give us the design for free (which he’d usually charge thousands of pounds for) if we’d deliver milk to him once a week, because he liked the milk so much.”, says Robert.
So, what’s the process?
The couple explain that the process is quite simple: the nuts are soaked, and then they germinate so they’re alive, at which point they’re blended into water, and the fibre is filtered out of the pulp.
“You’re left with a drink that’s got all the protein and all the vitamins and minerals and calcium from the nut, and you can have it on your cereal! I’m not saying everyone should give up cow’s milk, we’re just offering an alternative.”, says Robert.
On the other end of the scale, Robert and Hannah have been growing their company very slowly, and openly admit that it’s been a real experience creating and setting up a business when neither of them come from entrepreneurial backgrounds, so they’ve both had to learn on their feet. Ironically, Robert’s grandparents were dairy farmers! They’re not shy to express their gratitude to other Liverpool-based businesses, and speak extremely highly of Matta’s International Food, an independent grocery store in Liverpool.
Robert says “We started with zero budget and everything we’ve made, we’ve put back into the business. It’s been a great mind-expander trying to find the right suppliers for everything and countless other challenges.”
The couple both agree that delivering in the Liverpool community, whether to businesses or individual houses is one of the most rewarding aspects of their job.
“We don’t have a milk cart, but we’ve got a Brompton bike and a trailer! I think it’s really nice visiting people like an old-school milkman. Just delivering milk and saying hi to someone on their doorstep brings a level of interaction which is kind of missing today. There’s obviously a lot of hilarious 70s connotations of a milkman but every person that I deliver to really likes the fact that there’s a human connection.”
What’s different about Nuts About Milk compared to other nut-milk brands?
Robert explains that, on average, the almond milks that come in cartons have probably been in those carton for at least a month or two, so even though it tastes nice there’s not going to be much in there that’s of “bio-availability” (that hip-old phrase!).
Hannah breaks it down, saying “we don’t use any preservatives, it’s literally just nuts and re-mineralised water in our milk, and all of our nuts are organic.”
So what’s next for Nuts About Milk, and how can we find out more?
They’re currently developing cashew and almond butters and yoghurts, but in my opinion, the most exciting line which they’re setting up is: ‘Nuts About Shakes’ – plant-based milkshakes! Get. In. My. Belly.
According to Hannah, the goal is “to make it as available as possible to as many people as possible.”
There’s no website, just yet, but you can follow all of their nutty escapades (yes, I went there) on social media. There is a Facebook page, and a very aesthetically pleasing Instagram page, with photographs of their signature bottles all over the city.
Hannah says, “It’s hilarious taking a milk bottle out with you and doing a photo shoot in public places. You get the weirdest looks”.
So, how do I place an order?
You can email: [email protected] or message them on their Facebook page. It’s £3.50 for a litre, and £2.50 for 500ml.
Words by Ellie Phillips