In 2020, researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that Americans have been drinking less and less cow’s milk on a per person basis since the mid-1940s. The USDA attributed the decline to the popularity of plant-based milk alternatives, such as almond milk, soy milk, and cashew milk. In fact, industry statistics show almond-based products are the most popular plant-based milk alternative, according to the USDA.
Bobby Parrish, a home cook and a popular YouTuber with over 3 million subscribers, claimed in a recent TikTok video that there are little to no almonds in some of the most common store-bought almond milk brands. The video has garnered nearly 300,000 likes since it was first posted in March.
Does almond milk contain almonds?
Yes, almond milk does contain almonds.
WHAT WE FOUND
Almond milk is a dairy-free, plant-based beverage typically made out of ground almonds and water. It can be sweetened, unsweetened, fortified or blended with other non-dairy alternatives, according to the Almond Board of California. Some almond milk manufacturers also include other ingredients in their almond milk products, such as cane sugar, calcium, salt and various vitamins, including Vitamin E.
Plant-based milk alternatives, like almond milk, must contain the ingredients implied on their labels to be in accordance with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA), a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) official told VERIFY in a statement. Both acts require food manufacturers to truthfully disclose the name of the food or beverage, its net weight, a list of the ingredients, and the name and address of the manufacturer or distributor on the label.
“Food manufacturers, including those making plant-based milk alternatives, have the responsibility to produce food consistent with current federal requirements, including current good manufacturing practices,” the FDA official said.
VERIFY looked into the ingredients of some of the most popular almond milk brands on the market, including Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, Califia Farms, Elmhurst, Malk Organics, Silk, Simply Beverages and Three Trees Organics. We found that each brand’s unsweetened almond milk does contain almonds, according to the ingredients listed on each brand’s website. The amount of almonds used by each brand to produce their almond milk, however, varies widely.
For example, Califia Farms told VERIFY in a statement that an eight-ounce glass of its almond milk contains about five to six almonds. Meanwhile, Elmhurst said their almond milk contains “approximately 19 almonds per eight-ounce serving.” VERIFY also reached out to Blue Diamond, Malk Organics, Silk, Simply Beverages and Three Trees Organics but did not hear back by the time of publication.
“Like regular milk and most other beverages, which consists of around 90% of water, almond milk has always contained a high proportion of water, along with other key ingredients that make it smooth tasting and easy to enjoy in a variety of ways,” a Califia Farms spokesperson explained.
In November 2021, the Plant Based Foods Association, a trade association representing the plant-based foods industry, submitted comments to the FDA urging the agency to “re-affirm its long-standing position to allow the use of the term ‘milk’ with appropriate qualifiers like ‘soy,’ ‘almond,’ ‘oat,’ or ‘plant-based.’” The association submitted comments because the FDA is set to issue guidance on the labeling of plant-based milk alternatives by the end of the year, according to the FDA’s website.