When it comes to the environmental impact of our food choices, most people understand that meat has a high carbon footprint and is overall resource intensive. Most people, however, overlook the consequences of the dairy industry. After all, we’re largely sold the idea that the dairy industry operates in a world entirely separate from the horrors of the factory farming world – it’s hard to go a day without seeing images of “happy cows” plastered all over TV or print ads.
The reality is, not only are the cows in the dairy industry raised on factory farms just like beef cows, but they are far from happy. Not to mention, the environmental impact of dairy production is massive. On whole, our food system is responsible for roughly 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and dairy alone makes up about 25 percent of that. Additionally, this industry is extremely water intensive, considering the amount of water need to grow alfalfa for feed and resources used keeping milking parlors clean (an automatic flushing system uses around 150 gallons of water per cow, per day). Plus, the pollution associated with dairy farms has been linked to ocean dead zones and in some cases, even tragic accidents where farm workers were killed by the noxious gasses released from dairy cesspools.
Knowing this, many people have made the choice to switch to almond milk, however, when it comes to making environmentally smart decisions, this isn’t always the best option. Now don’t get us wrong, compared to dairy, almond milk is a better alternative – but it’s not the best. Consider this: it takes around 30 gallons of water (about a week’s worth of showers) to produce one glass of cow’s milk in comparison, it takes around 23 gallons of water to make one glass of almond milk. While almonds definitely use less, and that adds up – it still makes a dent, especially considered 99 percent of U.S. almonds are grown in California, a state that is quite familiar with periods of drought.
So what is an environmentally-conscious, non-dairy milk lover to do? What if we could create a product that has just as much protein as milk and double the calcium (most on the market almond milks lack one of the two), and it is made with the super sustainable pea? Well luckily, Adam Lowry and his company Ripple Foods have done just that!
In a recent episode of #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias, Adam Lowry, the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Ripple Foods talks about how his company is taking down the dairy industry with a milk alternative that in many ways is nutritionally superior to cow’s milk. Not only does Ripple milk boast lower sugar content than most other milks, it uses 25 times less water than milk to produce and has half the carbon footprint.
Lowry is on a mission to make healthy, sustainable food that actually tastes good – if you want to learn more about how they do it and what Ripple plans to come out with after milks, you’ll have to listen in!
You can listen to the full episode on the following platforms: iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher
If you like this episode, be sure to subscribe to the #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias podcast for new episodes with food industry leaders, health and sustainability experts, as well as entrepreneurs and creative minds who are redefining the future of food.
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