“I hate two things. Liars, and skim milk, which is water lying about being milk.” – Ron Swanson, Parks & Recreation
Ron Swanson is a master of contrarian wisdom, so I expect he’d hate almond milk, too — despite the country’s new infatuation with the nut-based, mostly-water beverage.
Americans spent $890 million on almond milk in 2015, three times what we dropped for soymilk. Popular coffee shops like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts have recently added it to their menus. Target and Aldi now have house brand almond milk.
Or house brand white water, as critics might say. Almond milk typically contains just 4% almonds along with added vitamins, sugar, and gelling agents to give it that milky texture. Mother Jones magazine calculated that a 48 oz. jug of almond milk has about the same amount of protein as just a few of the nuts and referred to the product as “filtered water clouded by a handful of ground almonds.” Cow’s milk is an overall better choice for kids because of its higher levels of protein, according to several sources.
Based on the above, California dairy farmers have been lobbying their state unsuccessfully to limit the term “milk” to products created from the lactation from mammals.
Almond milk’s popularity might be explained, it would seem, by the increase in lactose intolerance and maybe by our never-ending search for ways to cut fat from our diets. But, maybe not. Americans, it turns out, are drinking less skim and reduced-fat cow’s milk and more whole milk and organic milk.
The popularity of almonds generally is putting pressure on California’s dairy industry, the largest in the nation. Global demand for the nut has skyrocketed and California produces 80% of the world’s supply. That, combined with long-running drought, and an increased minimum wage, have placed pressure on dairy farmers to sell-out or convert their land from cow pastures to almond groves. That trend is expected to last for at least the next five years.
One reason almonds are so lucrative: People are increasingly snacking on nuts instead of less-healthy items. So, while almond milk might be a scam, almonds are a tasty and legit part of a health diet.
But trust me, the dairy industry has nothing to worry about so long as the four Moss boys are in their milk-drinking prime. Heck, maybe I should just buy one of those dairy herds being auctioned off in California. Neighbors might not like it, but I’d save a fortune!