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Soy Milk Fades as Americans Opt for Drinkable Almonds

Mature almonds, ready for harvest
Mature almonds, ready for harvestPhotograph by Steve Goossen/Corbis

Non-dairy alternatives to good old-fashioned cow milk are spilling out into the mainstream, beyond the customary place in the fridges of America’s lactose-intolerant and vegan consumers. Sure, many still scowl at the taste of any milk that isn’t bovine in origin, but alternatives made from plants have grown to over $1 billion in annual retail sales in the U.S. For instance, at WhiteWave Foods, the company behind leading soy milk brand Silk, sales increased 12 percent last quarter. And while the company got its start with tofu in 1977, since March a majority of its alterna-milk sales have been coming from another source: almonds. Sales of its newer almond-milk products grew by more than 50 percent last quarter.

Retail sales of dairy alternatives made from almonds, rice, and coconut milk in the U.S. are now nearly $1.4 billion, estimates Marketresearch.com, and are expected to reach $1.7 billion by 2016.