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Almond milk is a plant milk manufactured from almonds with a creamy texture and nutty taste. It contains neither cholesterol nor lactose, and is often consumed by those who are lactose-intolerant and others who wish to avoid dairy products, including vegans. Commercial almond milk comes in sweetened, unsweetened, plain, vanilla and chocolate flavors, and is usually enriched with vitamins. It can also be made at home using a blender, almonds and water.[1] It is traditionally consumed through much of the Mediterranean.

Almond milk
Home-made almond milk, November 2012.jpg
Food energy
(per 100 g serving)
15 kcal (63 kJ)
Nutritional value
(per 100 g serving)
Protein 0.59 g
Fat 1.10 g
Carbohydrate 0.58 g
Cookbook: Almond milk  Media: Almond milk

Sales of almond milk overtook soy milk in the United States in 2013,[2] and by May 2014, it comprised two-thirds of the US plant milk market.[3] In New York in 2015, a lawsuit was filed against two almond milk manufacturers, claiming that the actual almond content in marketed products contained an unexpectedly small amount of almonds.[4] In the United Kingdom, almond milk sales increased from 36 million liters in 2011 to 92 million in 2013.[2]

Contents

HistoryEdit

In the Middle Ages, almond milk was known in both the Islamic world and Christendom. As a nut (the "fruit of a plant"), it is suitable for consumption during Lent. "Medieval cookbooks suggest that the aristocracy observed fasting strictly, if legalistically. Meat-day and fish-day recipes were not separated in medieval recipe collections, as they were in later, better-organized cookbooks. But the most basic dishes were given in fast-day as well as ordinary-day versions. For example, a thin split-pea puree, sometimes enriched with fish stock or almond milk (produced by simmering ground almonds in water), replaced meat broth on fast days; and almond milk was a general (and expensive) substitute for cow's milk." [5] However in many areas of almond milk's more traditional areas of consumption cow's milk is not commonly consumed and almonds are produced in large quantities making almond milk a more common beverage.

In Persian cuisine, an almond milk based dessert called harireh badam, almond gruel) is traditionally served during Ramadan.[6]

CommerceEdit

In the United States, almond milk remained a niche health food item until the early 2000s, when its popularity began to increase. In 2011 alone, almond milk sales increased by 79%.[7] In 2013, it surpassed soy milk as the most popular plant-based milk in the U.S.[8] As of 2014 it comprised 60 percent of plant-milk sales and 4.1 percent of total milk sales in the US.[9]:2–3

Popular brands of almond milk include Blue Diamond's Almond Breeze and WhiteWave Foods' Silk PureAlmond.[8] Blue Diamond and WhiteWave have been embroiled in a class-action lawsuit alleging that the almond milk's labeling misleads consumers into believing that the product contains more than the 2% almonds it actually contains.[10][11]

Within the Italian regions of Sicily, Apulia, Calabria, and Campania, almond milk is a protected traditional agricultural product.[12]

NutritionEdit

Nutritional content of cows', soy and almond milk
Cows' milk
(whole, vitamin D added)[13]
Soy milk
(unsweetened;
calcium, vitamins A and D added)
[14]
Almond milk
(unsweetened)[15]
Calories (cup, 243 g) 149 80 39
Protein (g) 7.69 6.95 1.55
Fat (g) 7.93 3.91 2.88
Saturated fat (g) 4.55 0.5 0
Carbohydrate (g) 11.71 4.23 1.52
Fibre (g) 0 1.2 0
Sugars (g) 12.32 1 0
Calcium (mg) 276 301 516
Potassium (mg) 322 292 176
Sodium (mg) 105 90 186
Vitamin B12 (µg) 1.10 2.70 0
Vitamin A (IU) 395 503 372
Vitamin D (IU) 124 119 110
Cholesterol (mg) 24 0 0

If unfortified, almond milk has less vitamin D than fortified cows' milk; in North America cows' milk must be fortified with vitamin D, but vitamins are added to plant milks on a voluntary basis.[16] Because of its low protein content, almond milk is not a suitable replacement for breast milk, cows' milk, or hydrolyzed formulas for children under two years of age.[17]

ProductionEdit

The basic method of modern domestic almond milk production is to grind almonds in a blender with water, then strain out the almond pulp (flesh) with a strainer or cheesecloth. Almond milk can also be made by adding water to almond butter.

In July 2015, a class action lawsuit was placed in New York against two American manufacturers, Blue Diamond Growers and White Wave Foods, for false advertising on the product label about the small amount of almonds (only 2%) actually in the final product.[4][18] In October of 2015, a judge denied the consumers' request for an injunction.[19]

SustainabilityEdit

A majority of American almonds are grown in the state of California. In light of the recent issues with drought in California,[20] it has become more difficult to raise almonds in sustainable manner. The issue becomes complex because of the high amount of water needed to produce almonds. Studies show that a single almond requires roughly 1.1 US gallons (4.2 L) of water to grow properly.[21]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Larmer, Christina (9 January 2011). "The pros and cons of almond milk". Adelaide Now. 
  2. ^ a b Rebecca Burn-Callander, "How the UK is going crazy for almond milk", The Daily Telegraph, 17 November 2014.
  3. ^ Tom Philpott, "Lay Off the Almond Milk, You Ignorant Hipsters", Mother Jones, 16 July 2014.
  4. ^ a b Collen, Jess (23 July 2015). "Is 2% Almond Milk More Confusing Than 2% Cows Milk? Blue Diamond And Silk Probably Say 'No.'". Forbes. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  5. ^ Bynum, W.C. (1988), Holy Feast and Holy Fast: The Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women, University of California Press, p. 41, ISBN 978-0-520-06329-7 
  6. ^ Karizaki VM (2016). "Ethnic and traditional Iranian rice-based foods". Journal of Ethnic Foods. 3 (2): 124–134. 
  7. ^ David Sprinkle (19 January 2012). "With Almond as the New White Milk, Dairy Alternatives Make Further Inroads". Marketwire. Retrieved 14 October 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Wong, Venessa (21 August 2013). "Soy Milk Fades as Americans Opt for Drinkable Almonds". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 14 October 2014. 
  9. ^ Senarath Dharmasena, Oral Capps, Jr., Brooke Kosub, "Demand and Market Competitiveness of Almond Milk as a Dairy Alternative Beverage in the United States", Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, Food and Consumer Economics Research Center, (AFCERC), Texas A&M University, 2015.
  10. ^ Steven Trader (8 June 2016). "Almond Milk Buyers Fight Stay Pending Other False Ad Deal". Law360. 
  11. ^ "Class action lawsuit targets Blue Diamond, Silk almond milks". Washington Examiner. 8 June 2015. 
  12. ^ "Guida ai Prodotti Tipici del Territorio di Brindisi" (PDF). 
  13. ^ "Milk, whole, 3.25% milkfat, with added vitamin D", United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
  14. ^ "Soymilk (all flavors), unsweetened, with added calcium, vitamins A and D", United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
  15. ^ "Beverages, almond milk, unsweetened, shelf stable", United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
  16. ^ Geoff Koehler, "Children who drink non-cows’ milk are twice as likely to have low vitamin D", St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, 20 October 2014.
  17. ^ Keller MD, Shuker M, Heimall J, Cianferoni A (Jan 2012). "Severe malnutrition resulting from use of rice milk in food elimination diets for atopic dermatitis" (PDF). Isr Med Assoc J. 14 (1): 40–42. PMID 22624441. 
  18. ^ Feeney, Nolan (29 July 2015). "False Advertising Lawsuit Claims This Almond Milk Brand Doesn't Have Enough Almonds". Time Inc. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  19. ^ Joe Van Acker (21 October 2015). "Almond Milk Makers Duck Drinkers' Bid For Label Change". Law360. 
  20. ^ "United States Drought Monitor > Home > State Drought Monitor". droughtmonitor.unl.edu. Retrieved 2017-04-17. 
  21. ^ "Chart shows how some of your favorite foods could be making California's drought worse". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-04-17. 

External linksEdit