Almond milk

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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

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]


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. [4]


Almond milk was first invented in Italy in the 12th century in the Codex Salernitana and appears in cookbooks of the mediterranean area from the 13th century onward. 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. [5]

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


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 US. [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 Almond milk, according to the perimeters stated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), does not qualify for the category of milk, and therefore it is advocated that almond milk not be labeled with milk. [10] [11]

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


Nutritional content of fortified cow, soy, almond and oat milks
Nutrient value
per 250 mL cup
Cow milk
(whole) [13]
Soy milk
(unsweetened) [14]
Almond milk
(unsweetened) [15]
Oat milk
(unsweetened) [16]
Energy, kJ (kcal)620 (149)330 (80)160 (39)500 (120)
Protein (g)7.696.951.553
Fat (g)7.933.912.885
Saturated fat (g)4.550.500.5
Carbohydrate (g)11.714.231.5216
Fiber (g)01.202
Sugars (g)12.32107
Calcium (mg) [lower-alpha 1] 276301516350
Potassium (mg)322292176390
Sodium (mg)10590186140
Vitamin B12 (µg)1.102.7001.2
Vitamin A (IU) [lower-alpha 1] [lower-alpha 2] 395503372267
Vitamin D (IU) [lower-alpha 1] [lower-alpha 3] 124119110144
Cholesterol (mg)24000
  1. 1 2 3 Commonly added to plant milks, which do not naturally contain significant levels of the nutrient. Added to all three plant milks presented in this table.
  2. Vitamin A fortification is only required for skimmed milk in the US.
  3. Vitamin D fortification for dairy 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. [17] Vitamin E is released from the almonds and absorbed. The positive effects of the vitamin E includes strengthening the cells. [18] 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. [19]


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. [20]

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. [21] [22] [23] [24] In October 2015, a judge denied the plaintiff's request for an injunction. [25]


Mean greenhouse gas emissions for one glass (200 g) of different milks [26]
Milk TypesGreenhouse 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 [26]
Milk TypesLand 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 [26]
Milk TypesWater 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, [27] 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. [28] [29]

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. [26] Among plant-based milks, almond milk requires substantially more water during the growing and production stages than soy, rice or oat milk (graph). [26] Cow's milk requires more water to produce than almond milk. In 2014, California produced 42.3 billion pounds of cow's milk and only 2.14 billion pounds of almond milk. [30] [31]

Sustainability strategies implemented by the Almond Board of California and almond farmers include: [29] [32] [33]

See also

Other plant milks:

Related Research Articles

Almond Species of plant

The almond is a species of tree native to Iran and surrounding countries but widely cultivated elsewhere. The almond is also the name of the edible and widely cultivated seed of this tree. Within the genus Prunus, it is classified with the peach in the subgenus Amygdalus, distinguished from the other subgenera by corrugations on the shell (endocarp) surrounding the seed.

Milk White liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals

Milk is a nutrient-rich liquid food produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals, including breastfed human infants before they are able to digest solid food. Early-lactation milk is called colostrum, which contains antibodies that strengthen the immune system and thus reduces the risk of many diseases. It holds many other nutrients, including protein and lactose. Interspecies consumption of milk is not uncommon, particularly among humans, many of whom consume the milk of other mammals.

Veganism Practice of abstaining from eating or otherwise using animal products

Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. An individual who follows the diet or philosophy is known as a vegan. Distinctions may be made between several categories of veganism. Dietary vegans, also known as "strict vegetarians", refrain from consuming meat, eggs, dairy products, and any other animal-derived substances. An ethical vegan, also known as a "moral vegetarian", is someone who not only follows a vegan diet but extends the philosophy into other areas of their lives, and opposes the use of animals for any purpose. Another term is "environmental veganism", which refers to the avoidance of animal products on the premise that the industrial farming of animals is environmentally damaging and unsustainable.

Yogurt A food produced by bacterial fermentation of milk

Yogurt also spelled yoghurt, yogourt or yoghourt, is a food produced by bacterial fermentation of milk. The bacteria used to make yogurt are known as yogurt cultures. Fermentation of sugars in the milk by these bacteria produces lactic acid, which acts on milk protein to give yogurt its texture and characteristic tart flavor. Cow's milk is the milk most commonly used to make yogurt. Milk from water buffalo, goats, ewes, mares, camels, yaks and plant milks are also used to produce yogurt. The milk used may be homogenized or not. It may be pasteurized or raw. Each type of milk produces substantially different results.

Meat analogue Plant-based food product manufactured to resemble meat

A meat analogue is a meat-like substance made from plants. More common terms are plant-based meat, vegan meat, meatsubstitute, mock meat, meat alternative,imitation meat, or vegetarian meat, or, sometimes more pejoratively, fake meat or faux meat. Meat analogues typically approximate certain aesthetic qualities or chemical characteristics of specific types of meat. Generally, meat analogue means a food made from vegetarian ingredients, and sometimes without animal products such as dairy. Many analogues are soy-based or gluten-based, but now may also be made from pea protein. Other less common analogues include ingredients like mycoprotein.

Flavored milk

Flavored milk is a sweetened dairy drink made with milk, sugar, flavorings, and sometimes food colorings. It may be sold as a pasteurized, refrigerated product; or as an ultra-high-temperature (UHT) treated product not requiring refrigeration. It may also be made in restaurants or homes by mixing flavorings into milk.

Soy milk Beverage made from soybeans

Soy milk, also known as soya milk or soymilk, is a plant-based drink produced by soaking and grinding soybeans, boiling the mixture, and filtering out remaining particulates. It is a stable emulsion of oil, water, and protein. Its original form is an intermediate product of the manufacture of tofu. Originating in East Asia, it became a common beverage in Europe and North America in the latter half of the 20th century, especially as production techniques were developed to give it a taste and consistency more closely resembling that of dairy milk. Along with similar vegetable-based "milks," like almond and rice milk, soy milk may be used as a substitute for dairy milk by individuals who are vegan or lactose intolerant, while others may consume it for environmental or health reasons.

Rice milk

Rice milk is a plant milk made from rice. Commercial rice milk is typically manufactured using brown rice and brown rice syrup, and may be sweetened using sugar or sugar substitutes, and flavored by common ingredients, such as vanilla. It is commonly fortified with protein and micronutrients, such as vitamin B12, calcium, iron, or vitamin D.

Plant milk a milk-like drink made from plant-based ingredients

Plant milk is a plant juice that resembles the color of milk and refers to manufactured, nondairy beverages made from a water-based plant extract for flavoring and aroma. Plant milks are vegan beverages consumed as plant-based alternatives to dairy milk, and often provide a creamy mouthfeel. For commerce, plant-based liquids are typically packaged in containers similar and competitive to those used for dairy milk, but cannot be labeled as "milk" within the European Union. In 2018, among the roughly 20 plants used to manufacture plant milk, almond, soy, and coconut were the highest-selling plant milks worldwide. The global plant milk market was estimated at US$16 billion in 2018.

Milk substitute

A milk substitute is any substance that resembles milk and can be used in the same ways as milk. Such substances may be variously known as non-dairy beverage, nut milk, grain milk, legume milk and alternative milk.

Silk (brand)

Silk is an American brand of dairy-substitute products owned by Danone North America.

Oat milk

Oat milk is a plant milk derived from whole oat grains by extracting the plant material with water. Oat milk has a creamy texture and oatmeal-like flavor, and is manufactured in various flavors, such as sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla or chocolate.

Soy yogurt yogurt prepared with soy milk

Soy yogurt, also referred to as Soya yogurt, Soygurt or Yofu, is yogurt prepared with soy milk.


MimicCreme was a brand of vegan imitation cream based on nuts and made without lactose, soy, or gluten. It was certified as pareve kosher. First produced commercially in January 2007 in Albany, New York, by Green Rabbit LLC, MimicCreme was primarily marketed toward vegans as an alternative to dairy products. The company website indicates that the company closed in November 2013 due to no longer having access to an appropriate production facility.

Plant cream

Plant cream is an imitation of dairy cream made without dairy products, and thus vegan. It is typically produced by grinding plant material into a thick liquid to which gums are added to imitate the viscosity and mouthfeel of cream. Common varieties are soy cream, coconut cream, and cashew cream. It is used as a dessert topping and in many other dishes and beverages.

Plamil Foods

Plamil Foods Ltd is a British manufacturer of vegan food products. Founded in 1965, the company sells soy milk, horchata, egg-free mayonnaise, chocolate and carob bars.

Vegan cheese Cheese-like substance made without animal products

Vegan cheese is a category of non-dairy, plant-based cheese analogues. Vegan cheeses range from soft fresh cheeses to aged and cultured hard grateable cheeses like plant-based Parmesan. The defining characteristic of vegan cheese is the exclusion of all animal products.

Pea milk

Pea milk is a type of plant milk made using pea protein, which is made of yellow peas. Commercial pea milk typically comes in sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla and chocolate flavours, and is usually enriched with vitamins. It is marketed as a more environmentally-friendly alternative to almond milk and a non-GMO alternative to soy milk. The two largest brands of pea milk are Ripple Foods and Bolthouse Farms. Pea milk is a plant-based alternative to dairy milk. It is available in several countries including the US, UK and Australia and is vegan, nut free and lactose free. Pea milk is a part of plant milks, which are gaining in popularity due to increased lactose intolerance among consumers and demand for environmentally sustainable products. The plant-based milk industry as per 2019 estimates is worth approximately US$5 billion and will reach a value of US$26 billion in 5 years. There has been research in the role of pea proteins in preparing infant formula, yoghurt and calf mixtures. The colour is off-white and pea milk is made through crushing yellow split peas and mixing the soluble components with water. Pea milk may also be prepared at home. It is perceived to be environmentally sustainable and requires less water than the production of dairy milk. There is limited information on the total carbon emissions and water consumption of producing ready to drink pea milk.

Elmhurst 1925

Elmhurst 1925 is a plant-based food and beverage company located in Elma, New York. The company manufactures and sells non-dairy, plant-based milks made from nuts, grains, and seeds. The first four nutmilks – almond, cashew, hazelnut, and walnut – debuted at Natural Products Expo West in March 2017. A number of additional products have launched since, including their line of unsweetened plant milks] made with just 2 to 3 ingredients, award winning barista editions, dairy-free creamers, and single serve ready-to-drink options.

Agriculture in California Overview of agriculture in California

Agriculture is a significant sector in California's economy, producing nearly $50 billion in revenue in 2018. There are more than 400 commodity crops grown across California, including a significant portion of all fruits, vegetables, and nuts for the United States. In 2017, there were 77,100 unique farms and ranches in the state, operating across 25.3 million acres of land. The average farm size was 328 acres, significantly less than the average farm size in the U.S. of 444 acres.


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