The desire for more dairy-free milk alternatives has never been so strong. A 2018 Harvard study revealed that the dairy industry is responsible for 3.6 percent of global emissions—second only to the beef industry.
How is the dairy industry bad for the environment?
A United Nations report found that livestock release about 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions globally, with cows responsible for more than half of those emissions. When cows burp, they release methane into the environment, which is a potent chemical 23 times more dangerous than carbon dioxide. Cow manure and unsustainable farming practices also greatly contribute to environmental degradation. With over 270 million dairy cows in the world, the scale of the industry’s environmental impact is immense.
Consumers receiving more dairy-free milk options
However, the dairy industry has been expanding rapidly in the past few years. Now, when shopping at the grocery store or ordering from Starbucks, customers aren’t just limited to dairy milk. Instead, stores and restaurants are now equipped with a variety of non-dairy options, ranging from oat milk to almond. In fact, a study performed by the Plant Based Foods Association found that plant-based milk sales grew by 9% in 2018, while cow’s milk actually went down by 6%. Sounds nuts, right?
With consumers demanding more sustainability in businesses, it’s opening up a new sector of plant-based milk options that aren’t just good for the environment, but often for consumers’ health. Milkadamia, a macadamia-based, dairy-free milk company, hopes to satisfy customers’ taste buds without sacrificing the environment.
Innovations in the dairy industry
Milkadamia is a soy, lactose, gluten, cholesterol, animal cruelty, and dairy-free milk alternative quickly growing in popularity.
Their products are now available in around fifteen thousand stores, including Walmart, and three thousand cafes around the United States. The company currently has four flavored milk products, four plant-based coffee creamers, and a new Milkadamia butter.
Why macadamia nuts?
One of the main reasons Milkadamia chose macadamias was due to their health benefits. For instance, macadamias have the ability to lower heart disease and reduce the risk of diabetes, to name a few.
Currently, 90% of U.S. milk comes from the same breed of cow. CEO Jim Richards pointed out that having such a great dependency on a single source wasn’t sustainable. To avoid food insecurity, consumers will need to explore more for their daily diets.
“There are twenty thousand species of edible plants, yet ninety percent of our diet comes from only twenty species,” Richards said. “Variety is…the spice of life, and there is a lifetime of culinary adventure latent in the twenty thousand little-used edible planet species.”
What is regenerative farming?
Milkadamia is U.S. based but born in Australia, where macadamias are native to. When the company first began, it sourced all of its macadamias from a family-owned farm called Jindilli Farm. Although the company has outgrown its ability to only use the macadamias they grow, they’re still committed to practicing a sustainable farming technique called regenerative farming at Jindilli.
So…what exactly is regenerative farming?
Regenerative farming describes a diverse array of agriculture practices used that are aimed at restoring soil biodiversity and enriching soil compositions. By drawing down carbon from the atmosphere and sequestering it into soil, the farming method reverses the effects of climate change. As Milkadamia put on its website, regenerative farming “allows our planet to breathe easier.”
“Culture is not static; what is or is not acceptable evolves with awareness. Regeneratively farmed food can alter the trajectory of our planet’s future,” Richards said.
Switching to dairy-free milk
Richards urges consumers to make the switch towards any dairy-free milk alternative, even if it’s not Milkadamia. He says the only shared competitor within the industry is dairy.
“Consumers are spontaneously choosing non-dairy milk over cow’s milk based on what is most important to them. The perceived relevance to mounting eco issues is a major deciding factor for many who choose non-dairy,” Richards said. “Consumers can speak to the industry in the language they listen most attentively to: their market share and sales. Conscious spending will get action.”
The future of the dairy industry
By the end of 2019, Milkadamia will begin production in Australia. Milkadamia recently entered markets in the United Kingdom and Canada, and plans to start exporting products in China soon.
As environmental concerns grow, consumers hope to lessen their impact. The long list of milk alternatives proves that businesses are listening to consumers and their desire to save the planet.