Even if you aren’t an avid almond milk drinker, you’ve probably seen Almond Breeze products on the shelves of your local supermarket’s alternative milk section.
Almond Breeze is the leading almond milk brand in the U.S., outselling other popular brands like Silk, Califia Farms, and others by at least 10 million units in 2022.
Despite its popularity, Almond Breeze may not be the healthiest option on the market. In 2015, a lawsuit suggested that the product only contained 2% almonds, while the rest was water and other fillers like cane sugar, sunflower lecithin, and gellan gum.
If you’re considering buying Almond Breeze to drink as part of a healthier lifestyle, it’s important to think about whether it’s actually healthy or if there are better options available.
In this piece, I’ll break down a few facts about Almond Breeze and explain why, although it’s not the worst almond milk out there, you’d be better off choosing a healthier, cost-effective option.
Is Almond Breeze healthy?
While Almond Breeze has some benefits, it contains some additives and synthetic ingredients we recommend avoiding when possible.
What is Almond Breeze?
Almond Breeze is a widely available almond milk brand produced by Blue Diamond.
The company is based in California and has been operational for nearly 100 years. They started selling Almond Breeze products in the late 1990s.
It’s one of the most affordable and accessible almond milk products, costing about $3.58 for a 64-ounce carton.
Today, Almond Breeze features multiple types of almond milk, including flavored, sweetened, and blended almond milk.
This offers consumers several different products to choose from in the Almond Breeze line.
The Benefits of Almond Breeze
Even though I don’t consider Almond Breeze the best dairy-free milk choice, the brand offers a few benefits.
Without a doubt, Almond Breeze has a great variety of products.
This is due to the company’s size and ability to invest in multiple products within the same line.
As of the time of this writing, their website lists the following Almond Breeze products:
- Original Almondmilk
- Chocolate Almondmilk
- Vanilla Almondmilk
- Unsweetened Vanilla Almondmilk
- Hint of Honey Vanilla Almondmilk
- Reduced Sugar Vanilla Almondmilk
- Almondmilk Nog
- Unsweetened Original Almondmilk
- Almondmilk Extra Creamy
- Shelf-Stable Almondmilk
- Almondmilk Blends like Coconut Original Almondmilk
High in Calcium
If you've seen Almond Breeze in the store, you've probably noticed they make it abundantly clear that their products contain 50% more calcium than “regular milk”.
That’s around 450mg of calcium to dairy milk’s 300 mg of calcium. This is because the company adds calcium citrate to its products.
Potentially Lower Calorie
Some products, like the Almondmilk Original by Almond Breeze, are lower calorie than dairy milk.
The company boasts that this almond milk has only 60 calories per glass, compared to 122 calories for a cup of 2% milk.
When you consider the calcium you’re getting in that service, it makes Almond Breeze an appealing choice.
Free of Some Additives
Almond Breeze says it’s crafted from Blue Diamond almonds with natural flavors (we’ll touch on that later).
It also says that its products don’t contain additives like carrageenan.
Since carrageenan can cause digestive issues for some people, this is a plus for the brand. However, it's worth noting that most non-dairy milk brands have stopped using carrageenan for the same reason.
Commitment to Sustainability
Many people have shown concern about the environmental impact of almond milk.
Blue Diamond, as a company, does focus on sustainability, making Almond Breeze a fairly good choice if you’re focused on eco-friendly food production.
The Blue Diamond Growers coop is made up of 3,000 family-owned and operated farms, each with under 100 acres of almonds in California.
The company also invests in sustainability through water conservation, biodiversity and pollinator projects, and recycling.
Why Don’t We Recommend Almond Breeze?
So, if Almond Breeze has so many benefits, why don’t we recommend it?
Essentially, it’s because Almond Breeze contains more additives than necessary.
This makes it less of a natural, healthy product made from almonds and more of a fortified water with some almonds in it.
On most of the Almond Breeze products, the ingredient list includes:
- “Almondmilk,” which is filtered water and almonds
- Calcium carbonate
- Potassium Citrate
- Sunflower lecithin
- Gellan gum
- Vitamin A palmitate
- Vitamin D2
- Vitamin E
- Natural flavors
While none of these are inherently bad or harmful, it’s an awful lot of additives.
The first ingredient isn’t even almonds — it’s “almondmilk,” which means the amount of almonds in the product is likely not much (we don’t know for sure, the company doesn’t release specifics on this data).
Some brands, like Elmhurst 1925, offer almond milk with just almonds and filtered water. Elmhurst uses 4x the almonds of other brands, ensuring you get a high percentage of almonds in every glass.
Almond milk products offered by brands like Elmhurst 1925 may have a different amount of calcium and other nutrients than Almond Breeze.
However, the nutrients you get, like healthy fats, protein, and potassium, are natural and more readily bioavailable rather than synthetic.
Which Kinds of Almond Breeze Should You Stay Away From?
While we believe organic or almond milk with fewer additives is best, we recognize that Almond Breeze is an affordable and widely available option.
If you choose Almond Breeze, we recommend sticking with the unsweetened and unflavored versions. Here’s why:
Sweetened Almond Breeze products, like their Original, Honey, and Chocolate varieties, have tons of extra sugar.
The Original Almondmilk has 7 grams of added sugars from cane sugar, which can affect your blood sugar and overall health if you drink several glasses daily.
The Hint of Honey Almond Breeze contains 6g of added sugars.
Interestingly, it contains both honey AND cane sugar - making it unnecessarily sweetened with less-healthy sugars instead of just honey, which may have beneficial nutrients like zinc, iron, and amino acids.
Finally, the Almond Breeze Chocolate variety has 21 grams of carbohydrates and 19 added sugars.
The ingredient list places cane sugar second after almondmilk and before cocoa, making it one of the main ingredients in this beverage.
Then, we have the flavored varieties. This includes options like vanilla and chocolate.
While vanilla almond milk is typically similar in nutritional value to non-vanilla-flavored options, the question of ingredients can affect your choice of brand.
For instance, brands like Three Trees use organic vanilla extract and organic vanilla beans to give the drink its vanilla flavor.
Similarly, Beber Vanilla Almondmilk uses organic vanilla extract and local honey in their vanilla-flavored product.
Almond Breeze’s ingredient list for their vanilla drink (in order) is:
- Cane sugar
- Natural flavors
- Sea salt
- All additives listed above
So, where is the vanilla? It’s likely in the “natural flavors,” meaning it’s highly processed, synthetic, and offers no nutritional value.
While Almond Breeze Chocolate Almondmilk uses real cocoa, it also contains natural flavors and lists cane sugar as the 2nd ingredient.
Combined with the rest of the additives, it is a fairly unhealthy option unless you drink it sparingly as a special treat instead of every day.
Is Almond Breeze Really Worth the Price?
I mentioned earlier that Almond Breeze is one of the more accessible almond milk beverages on the market.
At around $3.58 for 64 ounces (depending on your grocery and location), the beverage costs about $0.06 per ounce.
But is it worth the price?
Let’s look a bit closer at almond milk pricing.
Our article, “Does Almond Milk Need to Be Organic?” breaks down the pricing of some of the more expensive but healthier brands and “affordable” options like Almond Breeze.
According to the article, the most expensive almond milk brand is Beber Fresh Almond Milk, at $0.56 per ounce. Compared to Almond Breeze, that’s a significant difference ($0.49 per ounce).
A mid-line yet still organic product is Three Trees Organic Unsweetened Almondmilk.
This one costs $0.24 per ounce. That’s a more minimal $0.18 difference per ounce compared to Almond Breeze.
Still more cost-effective are homemade almond milk options, which we’ll touch on in the next section.
Generally, however, you’ll have to decide if it’s worth spending that bit of extra on a less processed, healthier almond milk vs. a super cheap option that uses additional filler ingredients.
Cost-Effective Alternatives to Almond Breeze
If you are looking for a better almond milk that is super cost-effective, we recommend using an almond milk base or just making it with whole almonds at home.
These offer cost-savings compared to other healthier store-bought brands, better accessibility, and let you control what ingredients go into the final product.
Almond Milk Base
An almond milk base is a pre-made product meant to simplify the process of making nut milk at home.
Instead of buying, skinning, soaking, and blending your own almonds, a base provides pre-ground almonds that you simply mix with water.
JOI Almond Milk Concentrate makes about 7 quarts of almond milk per jar.
It contains blanched almonds (that’s it!) and is a convenient way to make almond milk at home.
This breaks down to about $0.09 per ounce, making it only $0.03 more expensive than Almond Breeze, but a whole lot more natural and healthy.
Homemade Almond Milk
Homemade almond milk is a great way to keep costs low and control your ingredients.
This route is enjoyable if you enjoy making things in the kitchen and don’t mind the process of creating a creamy homemade drink.
The cost depends on what type of almonds you buy (and the price of almonds in general).
Organic homemade almond milk is usually around $0.12 to $0.16 per ounce. This is about $0.10 more than Almond Breeze.
However, if you use regular, non-organic almonds, it’s less than Almond Breeze, at about $0.05 per ounce.
We have a few different articles you can reference to make homemade almond milk:
Almond Breeze Isn’t as Healthy as It Seems
To sum up my thoughts on the healthiness of Almond Breeze … there are just better options out there.
I know that cost matters - I hate overspending on groceries, so I get that Almond Breeze offers a quick, easy way to consume almond milk if you’re looking for a dairy-free alternative.
But really, it’s hard to get past the fact that it feels like I’m drinking water with tons of additives instead of a nutritious, whole-foods-based drink.
While I’m more inclined to spend the extra $0.10 to $0.30 to buy a healthier brand of almond milk, I know not everyone can.
In that case, I suggest you try the convenience of using an almond milk base to create a nutritious homemade beverage that lets you customize it to your preferences.