Open main menu

Almond milk is a plant milk manufactured from almonds with a creamy texture and nutty flavor,[1] although some types or brands are flavored in imitation of dairy milk.[2] It does not contain cholesterol, saturated fat or lactose, and is often consumed by those who are lactose-intolerant and others, such as vegans who avoid dairy products. Commercial almond milk comes in sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla and chocolate flavors, and is usually fortified with micronutrients. It can also be made at home using a blender, almonds and water.[3]

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)
Protein0.59 g
Fat1.10 g
Carbohydrate0.58 g

Sales of almond milk overtook soy milk in the United States in 2013,[4] and by May 2014, it comprised two-thirds of the US plant milk market.[5] In the United Kingdom, almond milk sales increased from 36 million litres (7.9 million imperial gallons; 9.5 million US gallons) in 2011 to 92 million litres (20 million imperial gallons; 24 million US gallons) in 2013.[4]


In the Middle Ages, almond milk was known in both the Islamic world and Christendom. As a nut, almonds are permitted for consumption by these religions during fasting seasons, such as Lent and Ramadan. Historian Carolyn Walker Bynum notes that "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."[6] In Persian cuisine, an almond milk based dessert called harireh badam (almond gruel) is traditionally served during Ramadan.[7]


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%.[8] In 2013, it surpassed soy milk as the most popular plant-based milk in the U.S.[9] As of 2014 it comprised 60 percent of plant-milk sales and 4.1 percent of total milk sales in the US.[10]:2–3

Popular brands of almond milk include Blue Diamond's Almond Breeze and WhiteWave Foods' Silk PureAlmond.[9]

Within the Italian regions of Sicily, Apulia, Calabria, and Campania, almond milk is a protected traditional agricultural product.[11]


Nutritional content of cow, soy, almond and oat milks
Cow milk (whole, vitamin D added)[12] Soy milk (unsweetened; calcium, vitamins A and D added)[13] Almond milk (unsweetened)[14] Oat milk (unsweetened)[15]
Calories (cup, 243g) 149 80 39 120
Protein (g) 7.69 6.95 1.55 3
Fat (g) 7.93 3.91 2.88 5
Saturated fat (g) 4.55 0.5 0 0.5
Carbohydrate (g) 11.71 4.23 1.52 16
Fiber (g) 0 1.2 0 2
Sugars (g) 12.32 1 0 7
Calcium (mg) 276 301 516 350
Potassium (mg) 322 292 176 390
Sodium (mg) 105 90 186 140
Vitamin B12 (µg) 1.10 2.70 0 1.2
Vitamin A (IU) 395 503 372 267
Vitamin D (IU) 124 119 110 144
Cholesterol (mg) 24 0 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]


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.[18][19][20][21] In October 2015, a judge denied the consumers' request for an injunction.[22]

Consumer demandEdit

The growth in consumer demand for almond milk in the early 21st century accounted for one-quarter of the US almond supply, and its use in almond butter manufacturing tripled since 2011.[23]


Mean greenhouse gas emissions for one glass (200g) of different milks[24]
Milk Types Greenhouse Gas Emissions (kg CO2-Ceq per 200g)
Cow's Milk
Rice Milk
Soy Milk
Oat Milk
Almond Milk
Mean land use for one glass (200g) of different milks[25]
Milk Types Land Use (m2 per 200g)
Cow's Milk
Oat Milk
Soy Milk
Almond Milk
Rice Milk

Almond production in California is concentrated mainly in the Central Valley,[26] where the mild climate, rich soil, abundant sunshine and water supply make for ideal growing conditions. Due to the persistent droughts in California in the early 21st century, it became more difficult to raise almonds in a sustainable manner.[27][23] The issue is complex because of the high amount of water needed to produce almonds: a single almond requires roughly 1.1 US gallons (0.92 imperial gallons; 4.2 litres) of water to grow properly.[26][27] However, it should be noted that cow's milk requires more water to produce than almond milk, and in 2014, California produced 42.3 billion pounds of cow's milk, while in the same year California produced only 2.14 billion pounds of almonds.[28][29]

Mean water footprint for one glass (200g) of different milks[30]
Milk Types Water Use (L per 200g)
Cow's Milk
Almond Milk
Rice Milk
Oat Milk
Soy Milk

Sustainability strategies implemented by the Almond Board of California and almond farmers include:[23][31][32]

  • tree and soil health, and other farming practices
  • minimizing dust production during the harvest
  • bee health
  • irrigation guidelines for farmers
  • food safety
  • use of waste biomass as coproducts with a goal to achieve zero waste
  • use of solar energy during processing
  • job development
  • support of scientific research to investigate potential health benefits of consuming almonds
  • international education about sustainability practices

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Lincoln, Jamie (18 August 2016). "Ditching Dairy? Here's a Cheat Sheet to the Tastiest Milk Alternatives". Vogue. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Face Off: Almond Milk vs. Soy Milk". Geri Maria Harris. HoustenPress.
  3. ^ Larmer, Christina (9 January 2011). "The pros and cons of almond milk". Adelaide Now.
  4. ^ a b Rebecca Burn-Callander, "How the UK is going crazy for almond milk", The Daily Telegraph, 17 November 2014.
  5. ^ Tom Philpott, "Lay Off the Almond Milk, You Ignorant Hipsters", Mother Jones, 16 July 2014.
  6. ^ Carolyn Walker Bynum (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
  7. ^ Karizaki VM (2016). "Ethnic and traditional Iranian rice-based foods". Journal of Ethnic Foods. 3 (2): 124–134.
  8. ^ David Sprinkle (19 January 2012). "With Almond as the New White Milk, Dairy Alternatives Make Further Inroads". Marketwire. Archived from the original on 23 October 2014. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  9. ^ a b Wong, Venessa (21 August 2013). "Soy Milk Fades as Americans Opt for Drinkable Almonds". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  10. ^ Senarath Dharmasena, Oral Capps, Jr., Brooke Kosub, "Demand and Market Competitiveness of Almond Milk as a Dairy Alternative Beverage in the United States" Archived 24 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, Food and Consumer Economics Research Center, (AFCERC), Texas A&M University, 2015.
  11. ^ "Guida ai Prodotti Tipici del Territorio di Brindisi" (PDF).
  12. ^ "Milk, whole, 3.25% milkfat, with added vitamin D", United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
  13. ^ "Soymilk (all flavors), unsweetened, with added calcium, vitamins A and D", United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
  14. ^ "Beverages, almond milk, unsweetened, shelf stable", United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
  15. ^ Oat Milk Nutrition Facts, Aldi, Batavia, IL
  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 (January 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. ^ 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.
  19. ^ Feeney, Nolan (29 July 2015). "False Advertising Lawsuit Claims This Almond Milk Brand Doesn't Have Enough Almonds". Time Inc. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  20. ^ Steven Trader (8 June 2016). "Almond Milk Buyers Fight Stay Pending Other False Ad Deal". Law360.
  21. ^ "Class action lawsuit targets Blue Diamond, Silk almond milks". Washington Examiner. 8 June 2015.
  22. ^ Joe Van Acker (21 October 2015). "Almond Milk Makers Duck Drinkers' Bid For Label Change". Law360.
  23. ^ a b c Alan Bjerga; Donna Cohen; Cindy Hoffman. "California Almonds Are Back After Four Years of Brutal Drought". Bloomberg. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  24. ^ Briggs, Clara Guibourg and Helen (22 February 2019). "Which vegan milks are best for the planet?". Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  25. ^ Briggs, Clara Guibourg and Helen (22 February 2019). "Which vegan milks are best for the planet?". Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  26. ^ a b Erin Brodwin, Samantha Lee (8 April 2015). "Chart shows how some of your favorite foods could be making California's drought worse". Business Insider. Retrieved 17 April 2017.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  27. ^ a b Richard Gonzalez (16 April 2015). "How Almonds Became A Scapegoat For California's Drought". US National Public Radio. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  28. ^ "Real California Milk Facts". The California Dairy Press Room.
  29. ^ "Almonds | Agricultural Marketing Resource Center". Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  30. ^ Briggs, Clara Guibourg and Helen (22 February 2019). "Which vegan milks are best for the planet?". Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  31. ^ "Annual report: Growing Good - Almond Sustainability 2018" (PDF). Almond Board of California. 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  32. ^ "Almond industry forerunner of future farm practices, sustainability program internationally recognized". Western FarmPress. 6 March 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2019.

External linksEdit