Cow’s milk is nutritious, complex, and occasionally a topic of contentious debate. It’s also sometimes a source of great pain for our lactase-deficient friends. Thankfully, farmers have perfected the rigorous process of nut milking and blessed humanity with a variety of plant milks. Ranging from light, silky almond milk to rich and creamy cashew milk, there truly is a plant milk for everyone. Plant milk tasting nights should be a socially acceptable alternative to wine tasting nights.
Another reason people enjoy plant milks is that they create less emissions, use less land, and require less water to produce! Overall, plant milks cost less than cow’s milk to produce. So why the heck are they more expensive? One might say, “well, they’re adding coconut milk into the drink when they otherwise wouldn’t, so they’re just charging for the extra product!” But milk alternatives aren’t really extra product. They’re replacing the milk that normally goes into the drink: that’s why they’re called alternatives. Can you hear the exasperation in all these italicized words?
Of course, one could also say, “alternatives are more expensive to buy as a finished product, so that’s why coffee shops charge more for them.” But should milk alternatives be more expensive as a finished product? Wanting to be environmentally friendly, save my digestive system from ruin, or simply preferring the taste of plant milk isn’t some hipster-bourgeoisie trait. If it costs less to produce and creates less of an environmental impact, then milk alternatives should be less expensive — for individual consumers and businesses.
Coffee companies have become more environmentally friendly over the past few years, largely in response to consumer demand for eco-friendly practices. Corporate giants like Starbucks take pride in offering discounts to customers who bring their own reusable containers, and even small shops like the Daily Grind use ethically-sourced organic coffee beans. It seems silly to make a show of practicing sustainability while simultaneously charging extra for more environmentally conscious milk alternatives.
Considering the amount of water, land, and carbon emissions it costs to produce just a glass of cow’s milk, coffee shops should consider charging extra for regular cow’s milk! Just kidding… unless?
Jokes aside, approximately 65 per cent of the human population is lactose-intolerant. Please stop charging us so much for milk alternatives when we’re politely trying to avoid uncontrollable flatulence around the rest of you.