Today people are paying an increasing amount of attention towards their own personal health and wellbeing. This in conjunction with the rising awareness over ethical and environmental concerns is significantly influencing our food market.
Largely facilitated by the interconnected nature of technology, this has enabled consumers to have a more transparent understanding of mass food production and consumption.
According to the USDA report, milk and dairy products have fallen significantly by 4.1 per cent in the past year, emphasising how consumers are driving a significant demand for dairy-free milk substitutes.
One of the greatest reasons for this shift is due to rising concerns over future water supplies, where vast amounts are used to rear livestock and produce milk. According to Natural News, it takes around 2,000 gallons of water to produce one gallon of dairy milk.
Considering there are an estimated 780 million people on this planet who do not have access to potable water, such statistics highlight the significant burden consumers place on the environment when choosing dairy milk over plant-based substitutes, and cows milk over fresh water.
In light of rising demands for alternative milks; such as soya, rice, hemp, oat, coconut and almond, brings us to question whether this demand is having a more negative impact on the environment than the dairy industry itself.
Concerns have risen due to the fact that 80% of Almond production is localised in California, which over the years has endured major droughts as a result of Almond farms tapping into local water supplies.
Continued development of these farms in the region may bring about severe environmental consequences, so much so, that the ground has been sinking by an average of 11 inches per year due to the extraction of groundwater.
Whilst there has been significant debates over the production of Almond milk, it is evident how conventional nut milks such as Alpro and Almond Breeze found on supermarket shelves have a mere 2% nut content, largely made up of water, sugar and additives including sunflower lecithin and carrageenan.
Despite it taking 5 litres of water to grow one almond, the nut percentage per bottle is insignificant to have such a detrimental effect on global water supplies. As it takes 100 litres of water to produce 100ml of dairy milk, the production impact of Almond milk is undoubtedly far less and much more localised than the widespread impacts of dairy production.
It is without doubt that avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your carbon footprint, as the livestock industry is poisoning the air we breathe.
The high amounts of methane released into the atmosphere continue to contribute to global warming.
From this, it is very clear how the media influences and manipulates consumers emotions, emphasising the confusion they face when trying to understand and source the most nutritious and ethical products for their diet.
Changing the way we cultivate our land on a universal scale and the foods we consume in our everyday lives can undoubtedly reduce our ecological footprint and contribute to mitigating the effects of climate change.