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Non-dairy creamers or coffee whiteners are liquid or granular substances intended to substitute for milk or cream as an additive to coffee, tea, hot chocolate or other beverages. They do not contain lactose and therefore are commonly described as not being dairy products, although many contain casein, a milk-derived protein. Dry granular products do not need to be refrigerated and can be used and stored in locations which do not have a refrigerator. Liquid non-dairy creamers should be tightly capped and refrigerated after opening. Some non-dairy creamers contain sweeteners and flavours, such as vanilla, hazelnut or Irish cream. As with other processed food products, low calorie and low fat versions are available for non-dairy creamers.
Holton "Rex" Diamond did experiments from 1943 to 1945 with using a "[g]elationous form of soybean protein" to make a "soy cream" that would not form curds when mixed with coffee. Diamond's experiments are the first English-language reference to a non-dairy creamer for coffee. In 1950, Melvin Morse and Dick Borne of Presto Foods developed "Mocha Mix Coffee Creamer", which was the first commercial non-dairy creamer and the first product with the term “Coffee Creamer” in the name. Another early commercial powdered creamer was "Pream," first marketed in 1952 and made from dehydrated cream and sugar. It did not dissolve easily because of the protein in the milk.
Six years later, in 1958, the Carnation Company developed a product that easily dissolved in hot liquid because it replaced most of the milk fat with vegetable oil, and reduced the milk protein. The new product was marketed under the Carnation label with the brand name Coffee-Mate. Borden followed suit by launching Cremora non-dairy creamer in 1963. Frank S. Mitchell developed a non-dairy whip topping for Rich Products Corp in 1946. Mitchell also developed a non-dairy coffee creamer, Perx, which was successful in the market.
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