Solving the almond dilemma
Ever thought about the impact of your favourite snacks?
With the zero waste lifestyle also gaining a lot of traction in recent years, packaging is often seen as one of the most problematic parts of our food system. While this is true, it turns out that what’s inside the bag is what’s often the most harmful to the planet.
Nowadays, a lot of consumers are making eco-friendly choices when grocery shopping, opting for plant-based and organic options to reduce the impact of their food choices on the environment and on their health.
Knowing the real impact
In 2017, we conducted an extensive lifecycle analysis of our products and discovered something truly surprising: 81% of our impact comes from agriculture - so far beyond every other aspect of our business. And that’s even though we are have always been committed to organic & plant-based products, which have significantly lower environmental impact than their conventionally-grown or animal-derived counterparts. In order to address the impact our ingredients have on the environment, we tried to see where we could make the biggest difference.
One of the main problems we face is that nuts are very water-intensive cultures. Take almonds for example: although grown closer to us in terms of distance, California’s almonds use up substantial water resources. For its artificial irrigation needs, the state as a whole diverts or pumps 43 million acre-feet (53 billions cubic meters) of water each year to supplement its insufficient rainfall. Agriculture uses 41% of the state’s available water and almonds account for 8% of all the water use in the state - it can take up to 12 liters of water to grow a single California almond.
Nuts for nuts… but at what price?
As it turns out, almonds are also one of the ingredients we import the most, for their exceptional nutritional value as well as their great taste. It was obvious that we could make a difference there.
Our solution? Partnering up with Spanish suppliers!
Spanish almond orchards mostly rely on rainfall instead of artificial irrigation. Local water boards also put restrictions on how much water each farmer can use per hectare of land, minimizing the consumption of this precious resource. Since Spanish almonds use much less water than their Californian cousins, this choice allows us to drastically reduce the amount of water that goes into making your favourite snacks.
Spanish agriculture is also less intensive and more diverse: our suppliers plants other trees, such as olive trees, in the almond orchards. This diversification protects soil health and reduces financial risks for small growers to commit to only one crop type. Our Spanish partners also work towards reducing the waste generated by the agriculture of almonds. Indeed, almost half of the almonds shells that would normally go to waste are now repurposed to produce energy used for the operations of the farms. It’s one step closer to a circular economy!
Unlike California almonds, Spanish almonds are occasionally bitter. That’s totally normal and absolutely safe, even though it’s unpleasant - it’s simply the almond tree’s natural defence mechanism! Because of our very rigorous quality control systems, we can ensure that fewer than 1% of all our almonds are bitter.
So next time you reach for a snack, be a snacktivist - choose almonds that are not only delicious but also better for the planet’s future!
 California Almond Board, 2015.
 Almond Alliance of California : https://almondalliance.org/goverment-affairs/policy-issues/water/
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