Why is this almond milk different?
June 7, 2014 6:07 PM   Subscribe

I am traveling in Europe and have found unsweetened almond milk here with very different nutritional information than I find in the US. Help me figure out what's diffferent, or if one country just has the wrong information.

In the US, I usually buy unsweetened almond milk that lists a calorie count of 30 or 35 calories (depending on the brand) per 8 oz. (237 ml) serving. In Germany, all the unsweetened almond milk I have found--literally every single brand-- lists a calorie count of 35-40 cal/100 ml., or an average of 88 calories per oz. serving! That's more than twice as much.

From the ingredient list, both countries' almond milks look the same. But clearly something is different. Is the US version diluted? Does one of the countries have its calorie count wrong? Is there some other difference I haven't accounted for here?

Essentially, what gives?
posted by yellowcandy to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Americans like a consistency closer to that of skim milk, and Europeans don't. (?)
posted by Sintram at 6:30 PM on June 7, 2014

Non-dairy (soy, nut rice) milks made for replacing milk are generally engineered to taste similar to milk and succeed in taste trials. Different countries have different expectations for milk, and different preferences for their milk replacements.

So the initial almond extraction can be diluted or concentrated, and has oil added and emulsified in, plus mineral compounds to provide calcium and phosphorus and give it a more "buffered" taste, like milk.

The ingredient list may be the same, but is the amount of fat higher? Protein? Carbohydrates? Those would indicate the change in formula.
posted by WasabiFlux at 7:00 PM on June 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Does European packaging use kilojouls (sp) instead of calories, as some other countries do? This would make the number higher.
posted by bearette at 8:05 PM on June 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

The number of food calories in almonds was recently revised downwards in the USA. But I don't think that explains it because 1. I don't think US food packaging has caught up yet - I think 35 calories predates the revision, and 2. The 20% difference isn't as much as the difference you're talking about.
40 kj/100ml is 22 food-calories per oz. Throw in the almond calorie revision and those numbers could be a possible explanation?
posted by anonymisc at 8:37 PM on June 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

German nutrition information here. 6g of sugar versus <1g or 0g in American brands.
posted by acidic at 8:55 PM on June 7, 2014

Looking at varieties of German almond milk (thanks acidic), my only guess is that it's more concentrated than almond milk in the US. Sintram's nonfat milk explanation makes sense. I also imagine the milk in much of Europe just tastes more like milk, leading to requiring stronger almond milk.

I also found this German almond milk which has 31 calories per 8 oz.
posted by WasabiFlux at 9:11 PM on June 7, 2014

So it really does sound as if the basic, unsweetened almond milk is different in both places. Has anyone tasted them both?

WasabiFlux, thanks for that link.

Bearette, packages use both kJ and kcal, and I do know the difference.
posted by yellowcandy at 2:20 AM on June 8, 2014

The package of Trader Joe's (US) store brand original (not unsweetened) almond milk I have lists 60 Calories per cup (240ml) with 7g of sugar.
posted by ChrisHartley at 3:06 PM on June 8, 2014

« Older 10 years before the mast?   |   Will I ever get my license? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.