Almond Breeze Barista Blend provides cafés with a great tasting and high performing low-sugar dairy alternative that ensures consumers can control how many calories go into their cup.
The “low-sugar” movement is gaining momentum in Australia. Schools, hospitals, and sporting venues in several states are banning the sale of sugar-rich soft drinks and junk food in their canteens and cafeterias. Numerous organisations including the World Health Organization and Australian Medical Association have called for a tax on sugary drinks, similar to those imposed on tobacco and alcohol.
With consumers becoming more aware of what they eat and how it affects their health, almond milk producer Almond Breeze says it is more important than ever that suppliers provide cafés with low-sugar alternatives to cater to this growing market.
A Nielsen and The George Institute study released in April 2018 revealed that nearly three in 10 Australians are “very concerned” about sugar consumption. The study found that health education and the wider availability of healthy alternatives are leading Australians to buy more products with reduced fat and sugar content.
Almond Breeze Country Manager Australia and New Zealand Michael McNulty says it’s the responsibility of the manufacturer to provide healthy alternatives.
“The whole marketplace is talking about sugar and low-sugar products. The challenge for producers is to create products that are low in sugar but also satisfy the same criteria in terms of taste and quality that consumers have had for the past decade,” Michael says.
“We are very keen to promote low sugar as a practice, but also advise the marketplace that we have products that are of a high quality, despite their low sugar content. Other café almond milks use five to 10 times more sugar than Almond Breeze Barista Blend.”
Sugar is used in most dairy alternatives as a shortcut to allow the products to stretch and froth in a similar manner to dairy milk.
Almond Breeze Barista Blend only contains 0.2 grams of sugar per 100 millilitres. Michael says maintaining a low sugar content meant utilising Almond Breeze’s years of expertise and knowledge of almond milk to satisfy the needs of baristas with a performance level equivalent to cow’s milk.
“It’s a combination of taste and functionality. Our product doesn’t split when heated and has great taste and texture, which is why it’s the choice of baristas and café owners,” he says.
Almond Breeze utilises almonds from its parent company Blue Diamond’s almond farms in California, where Michael says more than 80 per cent of the world’s almonds are sourced.
“Through Blue Diamond, we have the benefit of being in the almond business for more than 100 years,” he says. “We believe we’re sourcing the best almonds with the highest level of knowledge and generational education, which is why we’re able to produce such a high-quality product without the addition of sugar.”
Michael says that while the Almond Breeze Barista Blend has been low in sugar since it was released to the market in 2011, the company has been forced to reiterate its product credentials to café owners and their staff due to a high level of miscommunication in the marketplace.
“We were amazed that there was so much misinformation out in the marketplace about sugar,” Michael says. “We’ve been astonished by how much the café network wants to adopt and spread that message.”
A comment Michael frequently hears from baristas is that they feel responsible for making sure customers are aware of what is going into their drinks.
As such, in 2018, Almond Breeze Barista Blend conducted a research survey into Australian baristas and their thoughts on the industry. The study, published on
BaristasforBaristas.com, found that 60 to 70 per cent of baristas see themselves as trusted by the customer and more than 80 per cent see themselves as knowledgeable, and capable of real influence over the consumer.
“The barista is second only to perhaps the hairdresser in terms of short-term engagement but a high level of informal trust in their relationship with their customer,” Michael says.
“It’s very important that we don’t mislead the consumer, even unintentionally, about their sugar intake, particularly in a café scenario when the consumer doesn’t get to see the nutritional information on the side of a pack.”
He adds that Almond Breeze Barista Blend’s low sugar content means that coffee drinkers can control how much sugar they have in their coffee.
“When people go into a café to buy their coffee, there’s an expectation that they should be able to decide how many calories they would like to allocate, or how much sugar they want to intake,” Michael says. “When you have a low sugar base, you have the ability to add more sugar at your discretion, which is more suitable for everybody.”
Cafés can use Almond Breeze Barista Blend in their smoothies as well as their coffee. Michael says this means that they can better monitor the sugar content of fruit-rich beverages.
Despite the lower sugar levels, Almond Breeze found that during blind tasting panels, non-dairy drinkers preferred Barista Blend’s taste. Michael attributes this to the quality of Almond Breeze’s milk, the minimal effect sugar has on almond milk’s taste profile, and Barista Blend’s prominence in the marketplace.
“When you’re the first to market, people look at that taste and texture profile as being the norm,” Michael says.
Almond Breeze Barista Blend will look to spread its low sugar message with one-on-one education throughout the whole supply chain.
“We aim to highlight that protein and almond milks do contain sugar, and if you want a low-sugar option, Barista Blend is the best choice that you could make.”
Michael says Almond Breeze’s aim is to provide the consumer with the best tasting product to provide a healthy and active lifestyle, and that is exemplified by its commitment to providing low-sugar alternatives in cafés.
“It’s not just in non-dairy alternatives, which are quite healthy to begin with, that the low-sugar movement is gaining momentum, but the food and drinks industry as a whole. Low-sugar options are becoming the way forward in all categories,” Michael says.
“Consumers are looking for a healthier alternative, and an almond milk with less sugar definitely fits that bill.”
This article appears in the February 2019 edition of BeanScene Magazine. Subscribe here.
For more information, visit www.almondbreeze.com.au/barista