Almond milk companies have recently found themselves in hot water.
A new false advertising lawsuit against the two leading almond milk manufacturers alleges that the companies are misleading customers into believing that their almond milks are healthy products that are made up predominantly of almonds, while they actually contains only 2% almonds and are made up of mostly unhealthy ingredients.
The lawsuit, filed July 14 in New York, says that the almond milks contain only 2% almonds. The majority of the ingredients are actually water and sugar, along with ingredients like carrageenan and sunflower lecithin.
Two manufacturers of almond milk are facing a consumer fraud class action lawsuit over the percentage of almond contained in its milk. Filed by Tracy Albert and Dimitrios Malaxianis in US District Court in New York, the lawsuit names Blue Diamond Growers and WhiteWave Operating Co. as defendants, alleging that contrary to the companies’ advertising, which states that the milk is made mostly from almonds, in fact they only contains about two percent almond milk.
Blue Diamond’s brand is Almond Breeze brand and WhiteWave sells its organic milk under the Silk brand name. The two companies combined are the largest producers of almond milk in the United States, the lawsuit states.
Blue Diamond itself seems to acknowledge the claims. The company doesn’t list what percentage of Almond Breeze is made from almonds in the United States, but the U.K. Almond Breeze website says it’s 2 percent.
The ingredients for the unsweetened Almond Breeze are listed as:
Spring Water, Almonds (2%), Calcium Carbonate, Tapioca Starch, Sea Salt, Stabiliser: Carrageenan; Emulsifier: Sunflower Lecithin; Natural Flavouring. *Contains naturally occurring sugars.
The ingredients for the original (sweetened) version are listed as:
Spring Water, Raw Cane Sugar, Almonds (2%), Calcium Carbonate, Sea Salt, Stabiliser: Carrageenan; Emulsifier: Sunflower Lecithin.
The lawsuit further alleges that “upon an extensive review of the recipes for almond milk on the internet, the vast majority of the recipes call for one part almost and three or four parts water, amounting to 25-33% of almonds.”
This isn’t the first time Blue Diamond has been hit with a class action suit about false advertising. Lawsuits in 2013 and 2014 alleged that Blue Diamond Almond Breeze products were misbranded as “all natural” and misleadingly referred to the ingredient sugar as “evaporated cane juice.”
So what should you drink instead? One easy option is to start making your own non-dairy milks.
You can make your own almond milk, but you may want to use other nuts or seeds. Almonds are high-water crops and it’s estimated that almond growers are responsible for 10% of drought-stricken California’s water usage.
In addition, since almonds are rather expensive, it will probably cost more to make your own almond milk than to buy it (since you’ll have more than 2% almonds in your version).
You can use this standard recipe to make your own non-dairy milks from a wide variety of nuts and seeds. As an added benefit of making your own, you can customize what ingredients you use:
Try any of these nut or seed options, or a blend of two or three:
Nuts: Almonds, Cashews, Brazil nuts, Hazelnuts, Macadamias, Pecans, Pistachios, Walnuts
Seeds: Hemp, Sunflower, Flax, Chia, Pumpkin, Sesame, Pine nuts
There are many other recipes easily found online. You can even use other ingredients such as coconut, oats, soybeans, flax, rice, buckwheat and much more.
An added benefit of making your own non-dairy milks is that you can strain out the pulp (some leave it in for use in smoothies and such) and use that in other recipes. It can be dehydrated into flours, used in recipes, and more.
Next time, I’ll share more recipes for homemade non-dairy milks.
I’ll also share information on how to compare the cost and nutritional value of all different homemade and store-bought non-dairy milks. The results might surprise you!
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