As producers of almond based products, it should come as no surprise that the cost of our products is largely dictated by that of almonds.
So what is with the rising almond prices?
In the mid to early 90s, nuts and almonds were not hailed the healthy heroes they are today, in fact they were considered somewhat unhealthy due to their high fat and kilojoule content! Increasing research and evidence in the past 5 or so years has resulted in changing attitudes with increasing recognition of the nutritional value of nuts, in particular almonds. The growing popularity of almonds has seen the value of almonds rise, with the boom in business for almond farmers being called a modern day gold rush.
However it is not just the growing appeal of almonds which has created this price inflation. Over the past 3 years, California, the producer of approximately 85% of the global supply of almonds has experienced what has been deemed the worst drought in 1200 years. With almonds requiring a steady water supply, this severe drought has heavily impacted California’s supply capacity, with reservoir levels continuing to drop. As demand continues to grow, supply is limited.
Figure 1: Taken from Almond Investors Limited, www.almondinvestors.com.au, August 2015
The reduced capacity of California to fulfill the growing global demand for almonds has also resulted in increased demand for Australian almonds which are considered world competitive in quality and cost. However while this may be the case many almond milk producers do not use Australian almonds and hide behind labeling loopholes to avoid having to disclose where their almonds are actually from. If unsure you should always contact the manufacturer to clarify!
As an Australia company Luz Almond wants to support its own farmers, to not only boost the Australian economy but also to decrease the environmental footstep from producing our almond milk. By choosing to use Australian almonds, not only have they travelled a shorter distance, less gas has been used to get them to our factory to produce the almond milk.
There must be some other reasons…
Well yes, you are right! At Luz Almond we only use high quality almonds. Why? We need to use the best quality to guarantee better shelf life. One of the reasons Luz Almond is the world leader in natural almond milk shelf life extension is for this reason! On top of this, the almonds are visually inspected to check for any unusual colouring or characteristics. Even a few bad almonds can contaminate a batch and substantially reduce the shelf life. Being so meticulous takes a little extra time but we believe it is worth it.
Apart from the quality of the almonds, the percentage of almonds obviously plays a huge part in the cost of the end product. At Luz Almond we use 12% almonds in our premium range of almond milks, the highest known percentage in commercially produced almond milks. Most commercially available products use 2-3%. To put this into perspective your average tetra pak almond milk available at the supermarket contains 2% almonds and retails for approx. $3.30 per litre. So while Luz does come with a higher price tag it also comes with approximately 6 times the nutritional value of these cheaper brands. With two dietitians on the Luz Almond team, we are well aware that one of the main concerns when using milk alternatives is the protein content, as milk provides a significant portion of protein requirements. The 2% almond milk varieties contain just over 1g of protein per 250mL serve while Luz contains almost 6g per 250mL serving. With 6 times more almonds, it is also a fair assumption that Luz is naturally 6 times higher in other nutrients such as vitamin E and fibre which is ultimately what you are paying for.
We are not here to give you a business lesson but this question often comes up so we just thought we would explain it in simple terms. Of course we could reduce costs by using plastic packaging, reducing the percentage of almonds, substituting with fillers and additives but then it wouldn’t be Luz Almond. We have built a brand and company that people love and trust, through hard work and sticking to our roots and we are not willing to sacrifice that – we believe in quality without compromise and that is a promise we intend to keep!
At Luz Almond we believe in being 100% transparency and so we encourage you to make sure you know everything you can about the foods and beverages you are consuming – what is in them? Where were they made? How were they produced?
If you take nothing else away from this, take this one piece of advice, become a label reader and always ask questions.
Here are a few additional related resources that we through you may find interesting: