It’s been hailed as super nutritious and tasty, but as its popularity increases, the query of whether almond milk is vegan-friendly arises. This article tackles the question: “Is almond milk vegan?”
Almond milk is a plant-based milk alternative. It is creamy in texture and has a mild nutty taste to it. It is typically made by blending unsweetened almonds with water and straining out the excess pulp. Depending on the type other ingredients can be added to this mixture as well.
For most store-bought almond milks, thickeners, preservatives, and flavorings are usually found in them so as to improve flavor, texture, and shelf life.
Ingredients used in making Almonds include:
- Almond milk (Filtered Water, Almonds)
- Cane Sugar
- Vitamin and Mineral Blend (Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin E Acetate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2)
- Gellan Gum
- Sunflower Lecithin
- Locust Bean Gum
- Sea Salt
- Ascorbic Acid (to protect freshness)
- Natural Flavor
These ingredients are what is found in many popular kinds of almond milk. Depending on the brand, ingredients may vary. Do the above ingredients mean that almond milk is vegan?
Is It Vegan?
Yes, Almond milk is vegan.
Almong milk does not contain any animal products and are a plant-based beverage.
However, it has emerged that the production of almonds might actually be harming the planet and in particular the bees. This is because almond trees need to be pollinated by honey bees. Without them there will be no almonds and therefore no almond milk.
California holds more than 75% of the worlds’ produced almonds. The downside to the commercial production here is that the bees are a lot less than the trees they need to pollinate. This leaves the farmers with no choice but to import more bees.
An estimated 40 billion honey bees are transported to California (that’s more than half the bees in the US) to pollinate the almond trees. As a result, advocates for the environment state that “the huge, commercially driven proliferation of the European honeybees used on almond farms is itself undermining the ecosystem for all bees.” Moreover, bee colonies are woken from winter dormancy about one to two months earlier than is natural.
In the US, bees are classified as livestock by the US Department of Agriculture because they play an important role in food production. However, a ton of honeybees are dying yearly, which could be linked back to the almond farms.
Vegan Almond Milk Alternatives
Almond milk is suitable for both vegans and lactose-intolerant people. However, if you are hesitant to use almond as a plant-based alternative to milk, the following are other options you could try:
- Hazelnut milk
- Hemp and flax milk
- Soy milk
The choice to which plant-based milk you drink is up to you and can depend on a variety of personal reasons. While there is clearly no animal product in the almond milk itself, the process it goes through before it hits the shelf – including the environmental implications and harm to bees – some vegans might choose not to consume it.