For decades, Americans' go-to option for non-dairy milk was soy, but that has changed in recent years. Last year, almond milk took the crown from soy as the non-dairy king, and how: In August, Bloomberg Businessweek reported annual almond milk sales of $738 million for the 12 months ending July 26, versus $341 million for soy. But a new entrant is angling for a slice of the pie: Silk, the onetime top dairy-free brand, has this month started selling cashew milk in the US, Quartz reports. It's advertised as "the first cashew milk in the refrigerated case," per a press release, and Silk calls it "creamier than skim milk with 1/3 of the calories."
Cashew milk could appeal to those who see almond milk as little more than flavored water, Quartz notes (cashews are much softer, so as one nut milk company owner explains, there's much less to filter out after they're ground). It could also be handy amid California's drought, given that 80% of the planet's almonds are grown in the state. It takes more than a gallon of water to grow one almond, Mother Jones reported earlier this year (a single walnut, it noted, needs 4.9 gallons). Cashews, on the other hand, are grown all over the world, from South America to Africa to Asia. And Silk is far from the only company marketing "milk" made from the crop. There are already cashew-based ice cream parlors, as the Arizona Daily Star reports, while cashew milk recipes abound. Still, almonds could be tough to topple, given that this year, they became America's favorite nut. (Read more almonds stories.)