Surprised by the lack of vegan alternatives in New Zealand, Russian expat Kristina Ivanova decided to create her own three years ago.
Fast forward to today and she is now crowdfunding on Kickstarter to raise $45,000 to launch her own vegan milk business, Milk 2.0, which creates alternative milk products using nuts and seeds.
Since her crowdfunding campaign went live on Monday, Ivanova, 26, has raised almost $7,000 from 44 backers.
"When I came to New Zealand I thought this country was very progressive in terms of the vegan movement and organic lifestyles so I was thinking I'd be able to find some alternatives like homemade and fresh almond milk but I couldn't unfortunately, and so I thought maybe that's something I can do myself," she says.
Ivanova, 26, quit her marketing job in February to focus on commercialising the product.
She says she has spent around $20,000 developing her milks.
Ivanova creates the products by soaking seeds and nuts in water for up to 12 hours and then blends them with water. From there she adds different nut and seed mixes and other ingredients such as dates, cacoa powder and vanilla.
Pumpkin and poppy seed milks are her favourite kind, although not yet available. Currently, she has two products in the pipeline; pure almond milk and a chocolate equivalent.
"Not many people know that poppy seeds have the highest amount of calcium in them, even higher than dairy milk," she says.
"It [tastes] just like a normal milk but it's not."
Ivanova first launched her products at the Auckland Coffee and Chocolate show in October and sold out of her stock within a few hours.
She says demand for non-dairy milks has skyrocketed in recent years.
"The difference is amazing from when I first became vegetarian 12 years ago in Russia to now. Back then I was pretty much alone but now you just have to look at New Zealand supermarket shelves to see the growth of people switching to plant-based diets.
"Coconut yoghurts, nut milks, animal-free meat substitutes made from peas; the demand for products made out of plants, not animals, is growing massively."
Long-term, Ivanova wants to launch a delivery service.
"My ideal scenario would be to have a weekly or monthly subscription plan so people can have their milk delivered, going back to that lifestyle where we had dairy milk delivered in glass bottles."
The money she raises on Kickstarter will be spent on commercial equipment, on a 32-month lease for a commercial kitchen, research and development, and cover food compliance costs.