Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Plant Protein Review [Test Results]

on gold vegan protein powder summary

Flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate

Optimum Nutrition has a reputation of producing products that are basically the gold standard for supplement quality.

I was really excited when I heard that Optimum Nutrition came out with a vegan protein powder: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Plant.

It was a little tricky to find a site that ships to Canada, but Muscle and Strength carries small quantities every now and then.

If you’re in the United States, you’ll have no problem finding it in most stores, including Amazon.

Like all my vegan protein powder reviews, I’ve broken this review down into the 4 most important aspects of a protein powder.

Each section has a score out of 25.

You can see how ON compares to other top vegan protein powders here.

Nutrition and Protein of Optimum Nutrition

While a protein powder can provide nutrition like vitamins and minerals, the only thing that really matters is protein content.

You drink protein shakes to get protein. If you want that other stuff, that’s what spinach is for.

So to calculate a nutrition score, I use the formula below. You can see how I came up with it and others on my testing methodology page.

protein powder nutrition score test

Keep in mind that this score is relative.

A score of 25 means that the protein powder has about as much as possible in a protein powder, while a score of 0 means that it has a smaller protein content than almost all other powders.

We can calculate this score by looking at the nutrition label:

optimum nutrition gold standard plant nutrition

Plugging in 96 calories from 24 grams of protein, and 150 calories in a serving, we get a nutrition score of 18.

That’s pretty average for a vegan protein powder.

If you’re looking for a protein powder that has the highest protein content possible, this is a bit disappointing.


Ingredients list:

  • Plant Protein Blend (Organic Pea Protein, Organic Brown Rice Protein, Organic Sacha Inchi Protein), Natural Flavor, AncienTrim Organic Grain Blend (Organic Amaranth, Organic Quinoa, Organic Buckwheat, Organic Millet, Organic Chia), Organic Cinnamon Powder, Organic Stevia Leaf Extract, Organic Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Ascorbic Acid, Organic Gum Arabic, Salt, Organic Pomegranate Powder, Cyanocobalamin.

The ingredients are all organic, if that’s important to you. But it’s also a very long list of ingredients compared to some powders that only have 5 or fewer ingredients total.

Pricing: Is Optimum Nutrition Affordable?

Next up is cost.

The price score gives you an indication of how cheap a protein powder is compared to the rest.

A score of 25 means that it’s extremely cheap, while a score of 0 means that it’s more expensive than most.

ON Gold Standard Plant only comes in 1 size: 722 g / 1.59 lb.

Again, I have a linear formula that translates the price per 100 grams into a score from 0 to 25:

pricing score formula

In this case, it produces a pricing score of 13.04.

Again, very middle of the pack. It’s not crazy expensive, but there are many cheaper vegan protein powders.

Mixability: Does Optimum Nutrition Plant Protein Mix Well?

Another important aspect of a protein powder is being able to mix it without a ton of clumps forming, which generally make the protein shake a chore to drink.

I’ve developed a simple, realistic scenario to test each protein powder with:

  1. Put 450 mL of unsweetened almond milk in a shaker bottle
  2. Add in 35 grams of the protein powder
  3. Shake for 45 seconds
  4. Pour the shake through a fine strainer, and weigh the clumps that are filtered out.

Once I have the weight of the clumps (“remnants”), I plug it into the following formula:

vegan protein powder mixing test

Again, this spits out a number relative to the mixability of the other protein powders I’ve tested.

A score of 25 means that it mixes perfectly, while a score of 0 means that there is a ton of clumps formed.

In this case, there was only 1 gram of remnants, so it gets a mixability score of 21.88.

You can see the very small amount of clumps left in the strainer below:

ON protein strainer

You barely notice them when you’re drinking a shake.

This was the most positive aspect of the product for me.

Taste: Is It Easy to Drink Optimum Nutrition?

Finally, you want a protein powder that tastes good.

Obviously this is subjective, but I try to justify my reasons and assign taste scores according to this table:

Taste Score Meaning
25 Amazing, would drink for enjoyment alone.
20 Very good.
15 Drinkable, not really good or bad.
10 A bit of a struggle to get down
5 Quite bad

Whereas most protein powders suffer from being “chalky”, this one was more “grainy”. I personally would prefer this if I had to choose between the 2 textures. It’s mostly smooth, but you can feel extremely fine grains in there as well.

The other issue is that there’s an aftertaste. It’s not a terrible one, I’ve had multiple protein shakes with worse aftertastes during my testing, but it is significant, and not pleasant.

So for those 2 main reasons, I was leaning between 15-20, but I feel it’s much closer to the lower end.

It tastes okay to drink, but I’d never say it’s very good.

That’s why I’ve given this protein powder a taste score of 15.

Overall Review Impressions of Optimum Nutrition Vegan Protein Powder

I had high hopes coming into this considering it was made by ON, but was pretty disappointed.

If you add up those individual scores, you get an overall score of 65, which is right around the middle of all the protein powders I’ve reviewed.

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Plant is very average in all the categories, except that it mixes above average.

If it’s easily available to you, or you like the company, give it a try.

I wouldn’t actively say not to buy it if you want to, I just wouldn’t strongly recommend it either.

In most situations, based on the data I’ve collected, there are better options for you if you’re willing to keep researching.

Alternatives to ON Gold Plant Protein

Here are a few alternatives you might like:

  • Future Kind – Not only is this an organic protein powder, it’s my #1 rated vegan protein powder overall. It crushes most other products in the categories I tested, other than cost (which still scored decently). See why I’m a fan of it in my Future Kind organic vegan protein powder review here.
  • Vega Sport – Also made by a really recognizable company. It also mixes well, but has more protein and tastes better to. Here’s my full Vega Sport review if you’d like to see the specific details.
  • Purely Inspired – Widely available and quite cheap, this protein is also made of organic ingredients. See my full Purely Inspired Organic vegan protein review for more.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. I've spent over 6 years as a freelance nutrition writer and researcher. During this time, I've tested over 50 vegan protein powders, and over 100 other types of vegan supplements.

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