Cows Mooving Over for Almond Milk
According to Bloomberg, the switch is happening. The dairy-free milk craze is shifting from trend to norm. The transition comes with a number of positive implications for the environment and the American diet. Elizabeth Crawford of the journal Food Navigator reported this April that over the past five years, sales of almond milk have grown 250% to more than $894.6 million in 2015, according to the Nielson Company. During this same period, the Nielson Company noted that the total milk market shrunk by more than $1 billion. The journal highlights future trends showing almond milk and other alternatives continuing to soar while dairy declines. At the same time, consumers are also choosing healthier, full-fat dairy milk to more processed, skimmed alternatives.
Bloomberg explains that demand for almond milk has pressured dairy farmers to switch to growing almond trees, as the graph shows below. Both practices have their own environmental impacts, since almond trees require a lot of water for irrigation and processing, but dairy farming "takes the cake." Methane emissions, land degradation, and growing air pollution are a few of the several concerns found in animal production. According to a 2015 New York Times report, the American Lung Association says the dairy-farming region of San Joaquin Valley, California, suffers from America's highest levels of the tiny, airborne particles linked to terminal diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.
The New York Times report explains that dairy farms are major greenhouse gas emitters and manure-producers. The manure can cause detrimental air and water problems for nearby communities. Often, contaminants leach from manure lagoons into the region's groundwater, spreading into drinking water.
Best bet? Stick to plant-based alternatives, but diversify! Not only will the variety taste good, but enjoying mixes of coconut, rice, hemp, almond, and cashew milks can moderate environmental impact. Even better? Make your own milk alternatives! Click here for recipes to make your own almond milk.
Homemade almond milk prep time & cook time - 5 minutes flat.
Want to know more? Check out the full Bloomberg article below, or click here!