Almonds have been under quite a lot of controversy recently, but is almond milk vegan, or should you avoid it?
Almond milk contains mostly vegan ingredients aside from two. Most have natural flavor, which is an umbrella term, that may include meat, eggs, or dairy. While all of them have almonds, which use immense amounts of water. A study found that one almond takes 3.2 gallons of water to produce, on average.
So it’s really not possible to say whether or not the popular almond milk is vegan, as we don’t know what natural flavor includes. However, I contacted the company Silk, and they responded that all of their products are without animal products.
Do Almond Milk Have Animal Products
To identify whether or not almond milk is vegan, we first need to know its ingredients. While most use a fairly similar recipe, it’s important to note that not all are the same. Some can use wildly different ingredients than Others.
One almond milk favorite is Silk’s vanilla flavored. Not all are flavored with vanilla so plain ones will have other ingredients. Although this is one of the most popular brands on the market, so it’s the perfect example.
So let’s have a look at the ingredients of Silk’s almond milk, and identify whether any animal products are present.
Ingredients In Silk’s Vanilla Almond Milk
So what does this tell us? Well, most ingredients are entirely vegan. However, one stands out, which is the natural flavor. -I have highlighted it in the ingredients list above.
Almondmilk (Filtered Water, Almonds), Contains Less Than 2% of: Vitamin & Mineral Blend (Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin E Acetate, Vitamin a Palmitate, Vitamin D2), Sea Salt, Natural Flavor, Locust Bean Gum, Gellan Gum, Ascorbic Acid (to Protect Freshness).Silk Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
Natural flavor is an umbrella term that covers many different foods. This includes eggs, dairy, and meat products. Now, we know that it can’t contain any dairy products, as it’s branded as dairy-free. -But what about the others?
It’s a quite substantial concern since even their unsweetened almond milk contains this ingredient. Thus, we need to identify exactly what this consists of to determine if it’s vegan.
I Contacted Silk (Almond Milk)
I contacted Silk Milk and asked about the natural flavor ingredient in their vanilla almond milk. Let’s see what happens.
Hello. Do you know whether any animal products are included in the ingredient “natural flavor” of your vanilla almond milk?Me
I was delighted to get this answer. I had been looking around all day on different brand’s websites to see what the ingredient included, with no luck. Finally, I got this response from Silk.
Not at all! All of our products are vegan-friendly. Our natural flavors can come from plants, fruits, vegetables, seeds, or beans.Employee
– “Employee” at Silk
I removed the employee’s name for privacy’s sake. Although this shows that Silk’s almonds milk is 100% vegan.
However, there is still an environmental impact of almonds.
Is Almond Milk Typically Vegan
The vegan lifestyle is about much more than a diet. Thus the environmental impacts of almond milk will be discussed in the sections following this one. Firstly, are the common ingredients in almond milk vegan?
The ingredients of almond milk are typically considered vegan. Although most of them have the ingredient natural flavor, which may not be vegan. It’s impossible to determine whether or not brands use animal products, as their recipe is proprietary.
Apart from natural flavor, the other ingredients are vegan. -If you see almonds as such. However, it’s practically not possible to determine if your favorite brand contains eggs or even meat. We can guess that it’s less likely they would choose these ingredients.
However, we know that Silk is 100% vegan in terms of natural flavor. They freely shared information concerning their ingredients in this conversation.
Here’s another example of supposed vegan milk that has an ingredient that could technically have animals.
Ingredients In Almond Breeze Original
Other Ingredients: Almondmilk (filtered water, almonds), calcium carbonate, sea salt, potassium citrate, sunflower lecithin, gellan gum, natural flavors, Vitamin A palmitate, Vitamin D2, D-alpha-tocopherol (natural Vitamin E).Almond Breeze Original
Not to say that all of your favorite vegan almond milk contains animal products. -But it sure is curious that some companies won’t disclose the exact ingredients.
Almond Milk Is Not Environmentally Friendly
The consumption of almond milk is on the rise. The same is true for awareness concerning the issues of production. Almonds have quite a significant impact on the environment, in many regards.
It’s definitely one of the most resource-heavy plant-based products. So now it’s time to determine if we can really call almond milk vegan, regardless of the ingredients. Another important aspect of veganism is the environment.
Veganism seeks to reduce suffering wherever possible, which includes the environment. After all, environmental shifts or habitat destruction is arguably more harmful than the consumption of animals. -These are highly interlinked.
Almonds And Water Consumption
The state of California is where 80% of the world’s almonds are produced. This has brought forth a lot of controversy in recent times. Mainly due to the extreme water consumption of almonds.
It’s reported that California uses 10% of its water for that nut alone. That’s 10% of a whole state’s water consumption used in the production of a single nut. Just imagine how many nuts you can think about.
Nothing comes even close to those numbers. In fact, one single almond takes 3.2 gallons of water to grow, on average. That’s around 12 liters of water to grow a nut which weights a few grams, at the maximum.
Quick Facts On Almonds Water Consumption
- California grows 80% of the world’s almonds
- California spends 10% of it water to grow almonds
- One almond takes 3.2 gallons of water to grow, on average.
Almonds And Bees
As with many other foods, almonds use pesticides. It’s not an uncommon practice, in fact, most crops use pesticides. However, pesticides in almond production do have a few issues with pollinators.
Crops rely on pollinators, natural, and artificially bred. The same is true for almonds as they need pollination to grow. Although the pesticides on almonds have been found to wipe out pollinators.
So you can argue that buying almonds is actually not vegan, as it costs the life of bees. However, the same is true for most crops. Some animal lives are lost in any food production. So it depends on your stance about that.
Should Vegans Eat Almonds
Almonds do have a few issues. They are responsible for massive water usage, with 3.2 gallons needed for one almond, according to one study. This alone is enough for many vegans to steer clear of the product.
After all, many vegans are so because of environmental concerns. Another is the fact that almonds have adverse effects on bees. So even though almonds don’t cause animal suffering directly, it does indirectly.
The answer to the question really depends on what you think after reading this. Just ask yourself if you can eat almonds with a clear conscious. If not, then you should not.
Although some almonds once in a while are not that bad. Vegans do have a much lower footprint in general, so it’s still much better than other diet groups.
Should Vegans Drink Almond Milk
Almond milk has the same issues as almonds. Not surprisingly as almond milk is made with almonds. The main issue I have with almond milk is that some brands won’t tell what natural flavor includes.
I cannot believe that they deliberately add animal products to it. However, it’s strange that they cannot say if it’s present or not. One brand that did disclose these ingredients were Silk, so there is no issues in this regard.
This is a guess, but I don’t think that their natural flavor ingredient includes animals. With that in mind, almond milk is similar to almonds. It depends on your stance concerning the production methods and water usage.
Also Check Out: Did You Know That Bagels Are Not Vegan?
The ingredients of almond milk are most likely without animals. Most have the ingredient natural flavor, which is an umbrella term that includes animal products. Although it does not mean that animals are necessarily included.
Most brands won’t tell their ingredients in fear of replication. So we really can’t know exactly what this ingredient includes. Although I’m inclined to believe that they wouldn’t use animal products.
Almonds themselves have a wide variety of issues. The environmental impact is immense with enormous water usage. While other issues include the adverse effects pesticides have on bees.
Hey, I’m Gus! I have been vegan for quite some years now, and have collected a lot of knowledge about the subject in this time. My goal with this blog is to spread the vegan message and make it easy to know exactly what’s vegan and what’s not.