By Estelle Luck
So, you’re standing in line at Starbucks waiting to order your usual roasted hazelnut macchiato. This Monday morning is different, however, as you’ve noticed the sign displaying the growing list of cow’s milk alternatives that are available to try. Then, after opting for the almond variety, you become instantly hooked. But before you decide to switch forever, be warned: the consequences of this choice may be far more destructive than you think.
A hot trend
In recent years, cow’s milk alternatives have become all the rage. They’re practically everywhere, in fact, and in varieties ranging all the way from oat to even pea. But despite this plethora of choice, almond milk seems to be particularly sought after. For example, figures from a 2018 Nielsen study show that U.S. sales of the drink had increased by 250 percent over the past half-decade.
Almond on the rise
It’s projected that almond milk’s popularity won’t be waning anytime soon, either. Grand View Research predicts that sales of the drink will increase internationally by just over 14 percent a year for the foreseeable future. And as you may have guessed, dairy producers are apparently bearing the brunt of this shift in consumer preferences.
The Dairy Farmers of America have reported that from 2017 to 2018, the sale of traditional cow’s milk in the U.S. plunged by over $1 billion. And while these two sets of statistics haven’t been officially linked, they’re sometimes discussed in tandem when the topic of plant-based milk is brought up.
As we’ll see later, though, the alleged connection between vegan milk varieties and the closure of dairy farms isn’t the only potential consequence of this relatively new craze. Indeed, there’s much more to plant-based alternatives than meets the eye – especially when it comes to almond milk. For now, though, let’s take a closer look at how this particular nutty beverage is produced and why people have become so obsessed with it.