Walk down the dairy section of your local food store and you’ll notice there has been a substantial increase in almond milk in recent years. Dairy milk sales have been plummeting as society starts to turn to healthier alternatives such as plant-based kinds of milk. The most popular of these new kinds of milk is almond milk.
In 2018, almond milk sales soared to an impressive $1 billion. Since the release of those statistics, nut milk’s popularity has only increased. In fact, most studies project that it will climb by 14.3 percent before 2025.
The growing popularity of almond milk has put almonds in high demand. In the United States, most almonds are farmed in one small section of California that stretches 500 miles. In fact, California is credited with producing 80 percent of the world’s almonds and 100 percent of the supply used in the United States.
6. Pollination Needs of the Almond Tree
Almond trees rely on bees for pollination. The California almond farms rely on massive beehives to meet the pollination needs of their nut trees. However, the region’s environmental conditions are not bee friendly, so maintaining the large hives is a headache for the farmers and often falls short of what the trees need to truly create a robust harvest of the in-demand nuts.
Even the bees dread almond pollination season because it starts early, so the bees have to start their job when they are typically dormant in nature. Their natural cycle becomes disrupted, which puts the hives’ lives at significant risk.
If the season were not enough to endanger the bees, there are the harmful pesticides used by the almond tree farmers, which pose a serious threat to the hive.
The region is also rife with aggressive honeybees, which some farmers use. The non-natural honeybees are imported from overseas and threaten the natural ecosystem.
A weak hive is at risk of parasites that can quickly take control of the bee colony. It doesn’t take much to kill a weakened colony.
5. The Bee Crisis
Bees are dying at an alarming rate not only in the United States but around the world. The Climate Institute found that about 1.6 million bees die every year.
The winter of 2018-2019 was financially devastating for bee farmers, who lost more than a third of their hives. In fact, it was one of the worst seasons for bees in history.
The decrease in bees appears to be due to climate change, harsh chemicals, and pesticides. The endangered species list now features several American bees.
With so many bees in peril, almond farmers are facing a serious concern and financial peril. The crops might not be as large, which will drive the price of the almonds higher and make it more difficult to obtain enough almonds to make the much-in-demand almond milk.