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Almond milk

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Almond milk
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

Almond milk is a plant-based milk substitute with a watery texture and nutty flavor manufactured from almonds,[1] although some types or brands are flavored in imitation of cow's milk.[2] It does not contain cholesterol or lactose and is low in saturated fat. Almond milk 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][4]

Global almond milk sales in 2018 were US$5.8 billion, growing at 14% per year, and forecast to be a $13 billion global market by 2025.[5]


Almond milk was used as a substitute for animal milk in the Middle Ages in areas that followed Catholic fasting doctrines. 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]

Almond milk's popularity as a dairy substitute continued throughout history, going well into modern times. It is even mentioned under the secondary definition of "milk" in Samuel Johnson's Dictionary in 1755, alongside pistachio milk.[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 US.[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 

Manufacturers and distributors of animal milk have advocated that plant-based milk not be labelled as "milk". They complain that consumers may be confused between the two, and that plant-based milks are not necessarily as nutritious in terms of vitamins and minerals. In the United States, as of 2021, though the USDA is investigating and various state legislatures are considering regulation, various courts have determined that reasonable consumers are not confused, and the FDA has enacted no regulations against plant-based milk labels.[11] European Union regulations require "milk" to be used for animals only, except coconut milk. (See Plant milk § Labeling and terminology.)

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

Brands include Almond Breeze, Elmhurst 1925, Mooala, Silk and Kirkland Signature.


Nutritional content of human, cow, soy, almond, and oat milks

Non-human milks are fortified

Nutrient value
per 250 mL cup
Cow milk
Soy milk
Almond milk
Oat milk
Energy, kJ (kcal) 720 (172) 620 (149) 330 (80) 160 (39) 500 (120)
Protein (g) 2.5 7.69 6.95 1.55 3
Fat (g) 10.8 7.93 3.91 2.88 5
Saturated fat (g) 4.9 4.55 0.5 0.21 0.5
Carbohydrate (g) 17.0 11.71 4.23 1.52 16
Fiber (g) 0 0 1.2 0 2
Sugars (g) 17.0 12.32 1 0 7
Calcium (mg) 79 276 301[a] 516[a] 350[a]
Potassium (mg) 125 322 292 176 389
Sodium (mg) 42 105 90 186 101
Vitamin B12 (mcg) 0.1 1.10 2.70 0 1.2
Vitamin A (IU) 522 395[b] 503[a] 372[a] -
Vitamin D (IU) 9.8 124[c] 119[a] 110[a] -
Cholesterol (mg) 34.4 24 0 0 0
  1. ^ a b c d e f g Commonly added to plant milks, which do not naturally contain significant levels of the nutrient.
  2. ^ Vitamin A fortification is only required for skimmed milk in the US.
  3. ^ Vitamin D fortification for milk is mandatory in the US.

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.[18] Vitamin E is released from the almonds and absorbed. The positive effects of the vitamin E includes strengthening the cells.[19] 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.[20]


The general production method involves soaking and grinding almonds in an excess of water. A milky white liquid is obtained after filtering the almond pulp (flesh). Almond milk can also be made by adding water to almond butter. In commercial production, almond milk is homogenised with high pressure and pasteurised for greater stability and shelf life.[21]

Almond milk can be stored in the fridge in an air-tight container (preferably a glass container) for about 4-5 days. However, certain factors, such as the temperature of the refrigerator, sterilization of the blender or storing jar, and surface cleanliness, can decide how many days you can keep it fresh. Storing homemade almond milk for more than a week may reduce its nutrition or even make it unhealthy.[22]

In July 2015, a class action lawsuit was filed in New York City against two American manufacturers, Blue Diamond Growers and White Wave Foods, for false advertising regarding the small quantity of almonds (only 2%) contained in the final product.[23][24][25][26] In October 2015, a judge denied the plaintiff's request for an injunction.[27]


Mean greenhouse gas emissions for one glass (200 g) of different milks[28]
Milk Types Greenhouse Gas Emissions
(kg CO2-Ceq per 200 g)
Cow's Milk
Rice Milk
Soy Milk
Oat Milk
Almond Milk
Mean land use for one glass (200 g) of different milks[28]
Milk Types Land Use (m2 per 200 g)
Cow's Milk
Oat Milk
Soy Milk
Almond Milk
Rice Milk
Mean water footprint for one glass (200 g) of different milks[28]
Milk Types Water Use (L/200 g)
Cow's Milk
Almond Milk
Rice Milk
Oat Milk
Soy Milk

Almond production in California is concentrated mainly in the Central Valley,[29] where the mild climate, rich soil, and 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.[30][31]

Almond sustainability is challenged because of the high amount of water needed to grow almonds: a single glass of almond milk requires roughly 74 litres (16 imp gal; 20 US gal) of water to produce.[28] Among plant-based milks, almond milk requires substantially more water during the growing and production stages than soy, rice or oat milk (graph).[32][28] Dairy milk requires more water to produce than almond milk (graph).[28] In 2014, California produced 42.3 billion pounds of cow's milk and only 2.14 billion pounds of almond milk.[33][34]

Sustainability strategies implemented by the Almond Board of California and almond farmers include:[31][35][36]

  • 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 the potential health benefits of consuming almonds
  • international education about sustainability practices

See also[edit]


  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. Houston Press.
  3. ^ Larmer, Christina (9 January 2011). "The pros and cons of almond milk". Adelaide Now. Archived from the original on 18 August 2016.
  4. ^ "Mayo Clinic Q and A: Dairy milk, soy milk, almond milk — which is the healthiest choice for you?". Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 1 September 2021.
  5. ^ Anna Starostinetskaya (23 June 2019). "Almond milk market to be worth $13.3 billion by 2025". VegNews, Fresh Healthy Media. Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  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. ^ ""Milk," n.s. 1755". Johnson's Dictionary Online. Retrieved 2 August 2023.
  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. ^ Wong, Venessa (21 August 2013). "Soy Milk Fades as Americans Opt for Drinkable Almonds". BusinessWeek. Archived from the original on 21 August 2013. 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. ^ Alternative Milk Labeling Leads to Legal Lashings
  12. ^ "Guida ai Prodotti Tipici del Territorio di Brindisi" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 September 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  13. ^ "Milk, human, mature, fluid (FDC #171279)". Agricultural Research Service. United States Department of Agriculture.
  14. ^ "Milk, whole, 3.25% milkfat, with added vitamin D (FDC #171265)". Agricultural Research Service. United States Department of Agriculture.
  15. ^ "Soymilk (all flavors), unsweetened, with added calcium, vitamins A and D (FDC #175215)". Agricultural Research Service. United States Department of Agriculture.
  16. ^ "Beverages, almond milk, unsweetened, shelf stable (FDC #174832)". Agricultural Research Service. United States Department of Agriculture.
  17. ^ "The Original Oat-Milk". Agricultural Research Service. United States Department of Agriculture.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ Mandalari, Giuseppina; Faulks, Richard M.; Rich, Gillian T.; Lo Turco, Vincenzo; Picout, David R.; Lo Curto, Rosario B.; Bisignano, Giuseppe; Dugo, Paola; Dugo, Giacomo; Waldron, Keith W.; Ellis, Peter R. (May 2008). "Release of Protein, Lipid, and Vitamin E from Almond Seeds during Digestion". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 56 (9): 3409–3416. doi:10.1021/jf073393v. ISSN 0021-8561. PMID 18416553.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ Bernat, N; Chafer, M; Chiralt, A; Gonzalez-Martinez, C (2014). "Development of a non-dairy probiotic fermented product based on almond milk and inulin". Food Science and Technology International. 21 (6): 440–453. doi:10.1177/1082013214543705. hdl:10251/59506. PMID 25028153. S2CID 6917796.
  22. ^ Saima, N (10 October 2022). "How to Make Almond Milk? Recipe and Nutrition". infopedia.co. Retrieved 1 March 2023.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ Feeney, Nolan (29 July 2015). "False Advertising Lawsuit Claims This Almond Milk Brand Doesn't Have Enough Almonds". Time. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  25. ^ Steven Trader (8 June 2016). "Almond Milk Buyers Fight Stay Pending Other False Ad Deal". Law360.
  26. ^ "Class action lawsuit targets Blue Diamond, Silk almond milks". Washington Examiner. 8 June 2015.
  27. ^ Joe Van Acker (21 October 2015). "Almond Milk Makers Duck Drinkers' Bid For Label Change". Law360.(registration required)
  28. ^ a b c d e f Guibourg, Clara; Briggs, Helen (22 February 2019). "Which vegan milks are best for the planet?". BBC News: Science and Environment. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ Richard Gonzalez (16 April 2015). "How Almonds Became A Scapegoat For California's Drought". US National Public Radio. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  31. ^ a b Alan Bjerga; Donna Cohen; Cindy Hoffman. "California Almonds Are Back After Four Years of Brutal Drought". Bloomberg. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  32. ^ Holmes, Bob (20 July 2022). "How sustainable are fake meats?". Knowable Magazine. doi:10.1146/knowable-071922-1. Retrieved 1 August 2022.
  33. ^ "Real California Milk Facts". The California Dairy Press Room.
  34. ^ "Almonds | Agricultural Marketing Resource Center". www.agmrc.org. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  35. ^ "Annual report: Growing Good – Almond Sustainability 2018" (PDF). Almond Board of California. 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  36. ^ "Almond industry forerunner of future farm practices, sustainability program internationally recognized". Western FarmPress. 6 March 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2019.