People love their almond milk. It tastes great. It’s healthy for you. It’s dairy free. Depending on the brand you buy, it’s a natural product. Unfortunately there are more than a few brands that are riding the coattails of that “health halo” that has formed around the product itself. Just do things the FoodFacts.com way and check the labels of some of the popular brands and you might be surprised. Now a new difficulty has come to the forefront in the form of a false advertising law suit against Almond Breeze almond milk.
According to a class action lawsuit filed in New York this past May (and amended on July 14), these popular items are more full of lies than they are actual almonds.
A pair of brave citizens are squaring off against Blue Diamond Growers, the largest processor and marketer of almonds in the world (according to their company website) in civil court. The plaintiffs, Tracy Albert and Dimitrios Malaxianis, are claiming that Blue Diamond’s almond milk brand, Almond Breeze, has been fraudulently advertising itself as primarily containing almonds, when in actuality, it only contains about two percent.
According to the amended complaint, available to the public, Albert and Malaxianis were avid almond milk lovers — Albert even residing in California, where Blue Diamond helps produce a significant amount of the almonds grown in the U.S. every year. However, they became shocked when they learned that their Almond Breeze, according to nutritional information displayed by its UK counterpart, only contained two percent real almond. No such disclosure exists on the U.S. side of the almond milk aisle.
“Defendant is using its website to lead distributors, grocery stores, restaurants, consumers and other buyers and resellers of almond milk in the United States to believe that their almond milk branded products are primarily made from almonds,” read their complaint. “Said information from Defendant’s website has created a false perception amongst the public that Defendant’s almond milk labeled products are premium products that are healthy for you because they are primarily made from almonds.”
Regardless of the outcome, the civil case, filed in New York because of Malaxianis’s residency there, is coming at a time when almond milk has become incredibly popular. An article referenced by the complaint notes that sales of almond milk cleared over $700 million last year, with Blue Diamond the top dog (the original suit also named Whitewave Foods, which produces Silk, a brand that now includes almond milk). According to research they conducted online, the average amount of almond that should be found in almond milk is around 25 to 35 percent.
The two, fighting on behalf of themselves and “all other persons in the United States” who have ever purchased Almond Breeze, are claiming the company has committed unfair and deceptive business practices, false advertising, fraud, and unjust enrichment.
So it appears that Almond Breeze almond milk contains only 2% actual almonds. Of course, they needed to leave room in the product for the carrageenan and evaporated cane juice that are used to make Almond Breeze the tasty alternative to dairy milk so many consumers enjoy. Like we said, make sure you read the labels.