Is Coconut Milk Better for the Environment?
The line we all tiptoe on between being healthy and being environmentally responsible seems to become narrower and narrower by the day. Haven’t noticed? Try finding a coffee shop that doesn’t offer a non-dairy alternative like coconut, soy, or almond milk. It’d be quicker to go and milk the cow yourself!
To be clear, dairy products are not necessarily bad, even though we’ve all gotten that condescending look from a friend as we pour that creamy 2% into our coffee. If you’re looking to escape this awkward stare down, then we have some solutions for you! There are great alternatives to dairy such as coconut milk, which offers nutritional benefits and a more sustainable production process.
Perhaps we have social media to thank for pushing us towards using dairy alternatives. It’s near impossible to scroll through your feed without seeing a trendy chai latte made with coconut milk. But, is coconut milk popularity really just driven by social media? Or in reality, is it the sustainability and nutritional value of coconut milk that has defeated the social media algorithms? Well, with years of experience working alongside local farmers to sustainably produce coconut products, CoViCo has learned a thing or two. That is, for the sake of the environment and your followers, opt for coconut milk, or coconut cream if you like the extra creaminess!
Dairy Production – The Cow in the Room
From an early age we’ve been painted a pretty picture of healthy cows roaming freely in a pasture. That is far from the truth.
How could it be possible that the age-old tradition of producing cow’s milk is that bad for the environment? In all honesty, there’s a shopping list of reasons, and here are the stats for you.
Air Quality: According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), over half of the U.S.’s milk production happens on just three percent of dairy farms. What does that mean? Dairy is being farmed in areas with over 1,000 cows, which greatly increases the methane produced. This ginormous concentration of methane is a major contributor to greenhouse gases.
Land Use: As the human population grows larger and larger, it is obvious our production has to increase as well. Studies from the University of Oxford have found that 50% of our habitable land is used for agriculture, and of that land about 77% is used for livestock. Those are big numbers, despite the fact that meat and dairy only supply 17% of global caloric needs.
Water Use: According to the Journal of Dairy Science, it takes roughly five-and-a-half times as much water to produce an equivalent amount of milk. The CoViCo process doesn’t use any at all!
Now you’re probably second-guessing all of those dream-like milk advertisements you were shown as a kid. Don’t feel bad, you’re not alone! Without that, we at CoViCo would’ve never been inspired to craft sustainable and delicious coconut products.
Alt-Milk Saves the Day…Or Not?
First, we’d like to apologize for scaring you with all of those big numbers and crazy facts. But sometimes, the truth isn’t pretty!
Now, surely, you’re left wondering: What can I use as a more sustainable alternative?
Before we dive into the wonderful world of coconut milk though, we should discuss its arguably more well-known counterpart – almond milk. Here is where we’ll apologize ahead of time, because we’re about to lay some even scarier facts down.
We love coconuts, but we have to admit almonds are awfully delicious. The problem is, however, that the majority of the world’s almonds are grown in California. And, if you haven’t heard, California is constantly going through droughts, which is not good for a crop that requires millions of liters of water! To meet their needs for water, almond farmers often drill into aquifers to pump out water. Doing so leads to land subsidence and even earthquakes (frightening).
Now you can be the one that gives your friends that condescending glare as they reach for their almond milk!
Coconut Milk – Better for You and the Planet
For a long time, you could only get coconut milk if you made it yourself or if you traveled to a tropical island. But now, go to any health food store and you’ll have too many options to choose from. But how exactly does coconut milk go from the trees in faraway lands to your local supermarket? We’ll lay it out for you.
Far, far away, in a tropical land, there are fields of coconut palm trees beyond the eye can see. Hand-in-hand with local, small farmers, CoViCo selects only the highest quality coconuts between the ages of 12-14 months, where the inner white meat is most ripe, and the nutrients are at its peak levels. The know-how to pick the coconuts when they’re fully mature can only come from years of studying the science of coconuts (and maybe one too many glasses of coquito). Once picked, the coconuts are put through a proprietary process which results in premium quality coconut milk and coconut cream. The finished product has little oxidation, fresh taste, and does not require any gums, stabilizers, or additional water. Kind of like a fairy-tale, huh?
Generally speaking, the environmental impact produced from coconut farming is relatively low. Mainly because farming coconuts does not require any deforestation, rather farmers make use of what mother nature has already provided! You’re probably thinking – How can you farm coconuts without planting any new trees? Well, here’s the secret – On CoViCo farms, farmers just make use of the older coconuts that naturally fall from the tree, which causes new coconut plants to sprout!
Not only do the trees produce the yummy coconuts used for many products, but they also produce that essential thing for life - you know, oxygen! You could say that coconut milk encompasses the three pillars of sustainability – that is, there’s no additional water used, no deforestation required, and no dangerous chemicals added into the manufacturing process. No wonder coconut milk is a top pick for environmentalists!
The above holds true for both coconut milk and coconut cream. Pretty often coconut cream and coconut milk are interchangeable, but at CoViCo we make our coconut cream with 24% fat. Our super savvy coconut specialists found this recipe to result in the creamiest, most delicious coconut cream.
Convinced enough to add coconut milk to your shopping list?
Finally, What Milk Should You Buy?
When considering nutrition, it’s up to you to decide for yourself if a dairy product or dairy alternative best suits your dietary needs.
But when considering the environmental impact, it’s pretty obvious that a non-dairy alternative, especially coconut milk, is better for the environment. Coconut milk pales in comparison to the amount of water used to make other non-dairy milks like almond milk. Plus, the coconut farms that CoViCo works with use the most sustainable and innovative practices within the industry, and CoViCo coconut milk is actually 100% coconut milk! Many other products are made with additives such as gums, stabilizers, carrageenan, and sugar (yuck) which ultimately results in a lower quality coconut milk.
At the end of the day, you should buy what you feel good drinking and what feels good going down. But maybe you should drink coconut milk if you want to save the world too! ;)