From Silk Road delicacy to North American staple

Are you eating more almonds than ever before? You’re not alone. In the U.S., the biggest consumer by far, demand has grown more than 220 per cent since 2005. Two major reasons for this appeal: heart-healthy fat and our quest for non-meat proteins. Almond milk is a popular alternative to dairy, and almond flour is often used in gluten free baking, but this versatile nut has environmental costs.


  • high in B vitamins, calcium and vitamin E
  • rich in fibre and monounsaturated fats
  • a substantial source of protein


Most of the world’s almonds come from California, where producers try to meet high demand while water levels decline. Almonds require a huge amount of water—over one gallon for just one nut, and California is a drought-plagued state. However, the industry is moving towards carbon neutral status, a point in its favour.