Trendy milks are ‘disastrous’ for the environment, says TV farmer

Almond and soya milk are "disastrous" for the environment yet people are choosing them in a "knee-jerk reaction" to social media messaging, a Countryfile presenter has claimed.

Adam Henson said anyone concerned about the environment would be "better off" drinking cow’s milk.

"My partner is vegetarian and so is my daughter. But what we discuss around the kitchen table is choosing the right products. So, if you’re drinking soya milk, that might have come from South America and caused deforestation, the destruction of species, the displacement of indigenous people," Henson said.

Almond milk comes at an environmental cost, with 74 litres of water required to produce one glass.

In California, where 80 per cent of the world’s almonds are grown, overall production uses an estimated two trillion litres of water per year.

Writing in Radio Times, Henson said: "Avocados and almond milk are disastrous for the environment. It isn’t a simple argument.

“Beef, sheep and dairy farmers are having fingers pointed at them quite a lot about health and climate change, but the industries are doing a huge amount about that. So, I would urge people to eat British food and don’t buy cheap food from abroad.

"It’s about understanding where your food comes from and making informed choices, not having a knee-jerk reaction because you’ve read something on social media."

Instagram is filled with influencers promoting the benefits of a plant-based diet.

But Henson said: "You’re better off drinking milk from a local dairy farm that’s been bottled there and delivered to your doorstep, where cows are wonderfully looked after and the family contributes to the local society and economy."

The Radio Times article featuring Henson, who runs the Cotswolds Farm Park near Cheltenham, did not mention that he has made a series of promotional videos for the dairy farming industry.

In the interview, the Countryfile presenter, who is hosting a new Channel 5 series, Our Family Farm Rescue, urged the Government to add agriculture to the national curriculum so that children can make “an informed choice” about where their food comes from and how it is produced.

Cow’s milk also has an environmental impact, with a 2019 Oxford University study reporting that producing a glass of cow’s milk produces three times the greenhouse gas emissions of plant-based milks.

Sales of cow’s milk soared during lockdown, with retail spend up 10 per cent in 2020.

The increase was attributed in part to people making cups of tea at home.

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