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Natural Foods Merchandiser

Secret Shopper: Should I buy soy milk or almond milk?

Secret Shopper: Should I buy soy milk or almond milk?
How well would your staff answer this question? Our Secret Shopper tested a health food store employee to find out. Here's the score (and correct answer).

Should I buy soy or almond milk? 

Store: That mainly depends on personal preference. A lot of people are allergic to soy, and there are some controversies with soy. It also has a stronger taste. Most people prefer almond milk, and it sells better than soy milk. Almond milk is lower in calories, but soy milk is higher in protein.

How did this retailer do?

Our expert educator: Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, author of of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth (Fair Winds Press, 2007)

That sounds like a reasonable and informed answer! As the retailer said, there is a great deal of controversy about soy. One thing that is not controversial is the hard fact that all soy that is not labeled organic is GMO, and if that’s a concern, people should be aware of that. Second, it’s not at all clear that soy is such a great health food to begin with. It has trypsin inhibitors (which prevent the absorption of certain minerals) and of course phytoestrogens, which may be problematic, especially for children. I’m no huge fan of soy—fine once in a while, but I don’t see any great benefit. Almond milk is a fine alternative if you like nut milks; just read the label because they vary enormously in sugar content.

Do your customers prefer soy or almond milk?

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