Barista Magazine

APR-MAY 2019

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House Ad in the Fertility and Sterility Journal along with a 2010 review published in the Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabo- lism found no evidence that the compounds in soy products caused any hormonal changes in men, women, or children. If soy posed a major threat to our health, wouldn't we already be seeing the effects as 60 percent of all supermarket products contain soybeans in some form of another? In fact, one 2014 study published in Food Science and Human Wellness reported that a large intake of soy proteins was actually correlated to a decrease in a woman's chance of getting breast cancer. Many of the arguments against soy are rooted in the genetically modifi ed (GM) nature of most soybeans in the United States and beyond. However, both the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization have determined, based on hundreds of studies, that GM products are not detrimental to our health. They do have an impact on the environment, though. GM plants require more fertilizer and more pesticides to grow properly. They also tend to be monocultures—where all plants have exactly the same DNA—making them especially vulnerable to blights. This destabilizes our food supply and puts us at risk for massive crop failures. The fi nal signifi cant claim about soy is its environmental impact on the Amazon rainforest and other at-risk areas. Millions of acres of land have been deforested in the Amazon and similar environ- ments, such as the Brazilian savanna, to make way for more crop- land for soybean production. Even considering that degradation however, the environmental consequences of soybean production are still better than those of dairy. David Pimentel of Cornell Uni- versity found that it takes 14 kcal of fossil fuels to produce 1 kcal of dairy protein, while for every 1 kcal of fossil fuel energy, you can produce 3.2 kcal of soybean protein. Almond milk, which has outsold soy milk in the past few years, has its own problems and positives. People often cite almonds' high water consumption—especially considering that 80 percent of the world's almonds are grown in drought-stricken California—as a major drawback of the milk alternative. However, almond milk still uses less water per cup of milk than dairy. Almond milk is actually the most effi cient water user compared to soy and dairy. It takes 10 gallons of water to produce one cup of almond milk, while it takes 35 gallons to produce one cup of soy milk, and a whopping 64 gallons of water to produce one cup of dairy milk. Califi a Farms, one of the top fi ve most purchased almond milk brands in the United States in 2018, recently conducted a Life Cycle Assessment of their top seller, Unsweetened Almondmilk, with researchers at the University of California at Davis and Santa Barbara. They found that a cup of Califi a's unsweetened almond milk "emits 80 percent less CO2 than U.S.-produced dairy milk, and requires 40 percent less water," says CEO and founder of Cal- ifi a Farms, Greg Steltenpohl. "At our facility in Bakersfi eld, nearly 100 percent of the water leaving our plant is now captured and reclaimed by the farmers who grow our almonds just up the road." There's not a lot of information available yet about the newer alternative milks on the market. Coconuts, which are grown in areas with plenty of water, have a lower environmental impact than almonds. In that same vein, oats are a winter grain that are fed mostly by rainfall and tend to be environmentally friendly. How- ever, neither coconut nor oat milk is particularly high in nutrients and protein. Compared to dairy, the environmental and health impacts of alternative milk seem to be less detrimental for the earth and our bodies. In addition, plant-based milks are opening new avenues for cafés and producers alike. Peter Truby, vice president of marketing at Elmhurst 1925, says that "one of the fi rst touch points people have for nondairy is [in] coffee." Coffee shops are among the fi rst places consumers are exposed to plant-based milks, "If I went to Starbucks, maybe I drink dairy … but I might try [plant-based milks] because it's interesting," he says. The CEO of Milkadamia, Jim Richards, echoes Peter's senti- ment: "Cafés are incubators of trends, people are introduced to a lot of new things through cafés so it seemed that that was the most sensible way for us to put our product out there—to start in the café business." When Milkadamia entered the United States market, it was exclusively in cafés for a short time before entering retail. For Pacifi c Foods' director of foodservice marketing, Debra Kaminski, the role of coffee shops in that fi rst introduction is even more central. Pacifi c Foods' award-winning Barista Series line of plant-based milks that are developed to be steamed, used in iced coffee, and, most importantly, taste good in all types of coffee, is successful because of its focus on what baristas need in their cafés. Debra also points out that the various plant-based beverages have their own distinct taste, which is the entire reason some people prefer them. "Plant-based milks offer a lot of opportunities to bring different fl avor profi les into the mix and give baristas an opportunity to give some pairings of what plant-based beverage might best complement a certain roast or a certain origin of cof- fee," she says. Behind the bar, we can use this knowledge to educate customers not just on the environmental impacts of their beans, but on their dairy-based drink choices. We can encourage café owners to stock a variety of dairy alternatives (keep in mind that nut and soy allergies are common, so offering non-nut and non-soy alternatives are important, too), and to publicize the positive effects of choosing an alternative. Finally, as an industry, we should push to eliminate the surcharge on dairy alternatives, making the choice to use them easier and more appealing. Considering the high environmental costs that are not factored into the cost of dairy, the true cost of dairy alternatives is actually a lot cheaper. Download entire issues of Barista Magazine to your phone and tablet FOR FREE! ¼ GET THE BARISTA MAGAZINE APP! 103 www.baristamagazine.com

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