As the Chinese suck down milk like Americans did in 1950s dairy ads, ignoring their chronic and explosive diarrhea reaching epidemic proportions (90 percent of the population suffers from some degree of lactose-intolerance) alternative dairy products are king in the Wholefood's satellite states, i.e. the coastal regions of the United States.
As someone who dabbles in, if you will, alt-dairy products, having too much free time to lurk in a grocer, I am familiar with the various products put out by Silk, Blue Diamond and smaller purveyors. I generally despise alt-dairy though; from soy yogurt, franken cheez' to even the ubiquitous soy milk, it all goes wrong in one way or another. I understand why these foods exist from an ethical stance on the dairy industry to health-related issues, e.g. intolerance and allergens. Animal milk, however, has always been linked to Western civilization, probably in many ways sustained and allowed for the progenitors of our civilization today; this food anthropological hypothesis even finds its way tacitly in myth: Romulus and Remus, the mythological founders of Rome, suckled on a mother wolf -- mmm, wolf milk. Milk is an unmoving monolith in the Western diet, finding its way into every kitchen; now, from such a cultural staple, it is one of the monsters of the food industry that sprinkles its dairy dander into almost every food product available to the average Western consumer. When you're that big, people want to blame you for every ailment and failure that exists, and milk, being an allergenic food with a decent percentage of the population being unable to digest lactose, gives people plenty of room to bash it.
The dissidents of our milky civilization have a new champion: the soy milk alternative to alleviate the lactose-intolerant, a seemingly ever-growing population as self-diagnosis sweeps the United States of WebMD. But, big mistake, almost down right humorous, using soy milk to deal with the self-diagnosed allergy/intolerance army. Soy is an equal to milk in being an allergen and indigestible, and, with the turn of the 20th century, soy is big business that rivals and beats dairy as the feed for the dairy industry. Soy's prevalence puts it in near every food product as well, and with its phytoestrogenic compounds, that make men think their breasts will be luscious and women think their breasts will become riddled with tumors, paranoid blame-game is activated in full force for the neurotic.
Time to abandon that golden calf for a new, shinier one. Behold(!): almond milk! Nutritionally devoid yet novel so nobody has written articles about how it has destroyed their lives -- yet. Almonds are also waiting on beatification by the Pope, as they seem to be universally hailed as a super food. The regular stuff is generally watery and flavorless with mild sweetness and a lingering-ghost-of-almond-past quality. I find it to be inedible in cereal. When I did try it, I felt like that latchkey kid in the Tupac Shakur video who eats cereal with tap water. (Please forgive the racial and class insensitivity of the previous statement.) The chocolate version is surprisingly pleasant tasting, but it is in fact just fortified soda. It is like Yoohoo for the upper-middle class, calorie counting, walking embodiment of food intolerance. None of the micro or macro-nutrients translate over from the whole food source to the beverage, so let the fortification begin and add a solid amount of sugar while you're at it, too. The Silk product has the audacity to claim that it has more calcium and certain vitamins and minerals that regular milk doesn't have. This would be impressive if it wasn't an arbitrary amount of man-made, powdered vitamins dumped into a tank of almond milk. They also, trying to avoid the awkwardness of fortifying something that is suppose to be nutritionally superior to milk, label the vitamins as "antioxidants". This is true, but it would also be absolutely true for Hawaiian Punch to label itself as being packed full of antioxidants because it dumps a couple of tons of vitamin c into a corn syrup slurry with red dyes and potassium sorbate in a factory building.
So while the Chinese are getting stronger, fatter, filled to the brim with synthetic hormones and having the worst diarrhea ever, the neurotic soccer moms, who have taken liens on their houses for elite pilates training, are jumping from one dairy alternative to the next spurred by self-diagnosis and whatever health paranoia is paramount. Almond milk in general is a poor excuse for a beverage or a staple, and it is one of the growing sphere of food stuffs that are varying modes of multi-vitamins sprinkled with sugar.