Almond milk is a plant milk made of almonds with a creamy texture and nutty taste. It contains neither cholesterol nor lactose, and is often consumed by the 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.
Sales of almond milk overtook soy milk in the United States in 2013, and by May 2014 it comprised two-thirds of the US plant-milk market. In the United Kingdom, almond milk sales increased from 36 million liters in 2011 to 92 million in 2013.
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. Almond milk was a staple of medieval kitchens because cow's milk could not keep for long without spoiling.
In the United States, almond milk remained a fairly niche health food item until the early 2000s, when its popularity began to increase. In 2011 alone, almond milk sales increased by 79%. In 2013, it surpassed soy milk as the most popular plant-based milk in the U.S. As of 2014 it comprised 60 percent of plant-milk sales and 4.1 percent of total milk sales in the US.:2–3
Popular brands of almond milk include Blue Diamond's Almond Breeze and WhiteWave Foods' Silk PureAlmond. 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.
|Nutritional content of cows’, soy, and almond milk|
(whole, vitamin D added)
calcium, vitamins A and D added)
|Calories (cup, 243 g)||149||80||40|
|Saturated fat (g)||4.55||0.5||0|
|Vitamin B12 (µg)||1.10||2.70||n/a|
|Vitamin A (IU)||395||503||n/a|
|Vitamin D (IU)||124||119||n/a|
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. 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.
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.
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- 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
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- Steven Trader (8 June 2016). "Almond Milk Buyers Fight Stay Pending Other False Ad Deal". Law360.
- "Class action lawsuit targets Blue Diamond, Silk almond milks". Washington Examiner. 8 June 2015.
- "Milk, whole, 3.25% milkfat, with added vitamin D", United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
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- "Almond Breeze Original Unsweetened", almondbreeze.com.
- 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.
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