For environmentally minded consumers, the news is hard to swallow: almond milk is not healthy for the planet and the popular milk substitute is especially hard on bees. Our recent investigation into the connection between California’s industrialized almond industry and a record 50bn commercial bee deaths created quite a buzz. The widely read story prompted one primary response from readers: “What should we be drinking instead?”
This is a thorny question, and food sustainability experts are reluctant to single out any one plant milk as best because all have pros and cons. But we’re going to try.
One thing is clear. All milk alternatives are far better for the planet than dairy.
A 2018 study by researchers at the University of Oxford showed that producing a glass of dairy milk results in almost three times more greenhouse gas emissions than any plant-based milk and it consumes nine times more land than any of the milk alternatives. (Land is required to pasture the cows and grow their feed, which the animals belch out in the form of methane.)