It is interesting when you have kids with food allergies because you come to realize that your semi-controllable ritual is what you rely on most in your day. You live your life like a scientist in that you want things that “work” and do not cause “allergic reactions” to become the norm. You want things to remain the same from day to day. Take something as simple as Almond Milk. For those of us with kids with food allergies to milk (and not almonds), the Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla almond milk has been a staple in our home for almost 8 years now. After trying a number of different “non-milk” alternatives, our family settled on the almond milk product. And honestly, so did I.
It is actually a great milk substitute for a number of reasons but one of the biggest ones is that it has 0 grams of sugar. This is a big one because if you are required to substitute one product (low-fat milk) for another (almond milk), your hope is that you would have a healthier solution than your initial choice. And for our family, it was definitely that.
Now fast forward to the beginning of September 2016. On a typical Sunday afternoon Costco run, as we are checking off our Costco list of essentials for the week, we head down the aisle that would normally carry the Almond Breeze almond milk. After searching a bit and then re-checking the end-caps to see if it had moved, it was no where to be found. They were out….or so I thought.
After we checked out, I went over to speak with one of the managers at a terminal and I was shocked to learn that they were not carrying the brand any more. WHAT? HOW COULD THIS BE? After all these years….no more. Being the persistent person that I am, the next day I reached out to Blue Diamond and sent an email. Additionally I sent an email to Costco. And then, I received back the bad news I was hoping to not receive.
Thank you for contacting Blue Diamond Growers. We appreciate your feedback and sorry that Almond Breeze is no longer at your Costco. Unfortunately this was a decision made by Costco. We will certainly pass along your comments to our Marketing and Sales team that work directly with Costco. You can also help us by going to the Members desk and requesting the Store Manager to please bring back Almond Breeze. Meanwhile I can send you some money saving coupons for your efforts and dedication to Almond Breeze.
ARGGG! This is a bad dream. Does this mean that as a food allergy parent I am actually going to have to shop at Whole Foods (sorry…..but no offense) to buy another “specialty” item that is going to add another large expense to my monthly bill. In an act of desperation, I did notice that there was another “almond milk” product that Costco was carrying….but after bringing it home, my wife quickly pointed out the fact that it was “non-vanilla” and contained “a ton” of sugar. This would have to go back.
Now fast forward to today. After a last minute Costco run this evening, and after checking out, I decided to speak with a manager again about the almond milk situation. My plan was simple. If I could find a location that had the product, I would just drive there and buy several hundred dollars worth of almond milk. Why not? It has a huge shelf life (usually more than 1 year) and if it meant that I was going to save a lot of money then I would be completely justified in my decision (even though I would most likely hear a long speech from my wife on my insane decision).
The manager types at his computer a moment to tell me what I already knew. The Blue Diamond brand was no more…but then he said something interesting. He said that there was an “alternative” Kirkland product. Huh? What did that mean? So, I politely asked if he could show me what he was referring to and guess what. There it was. In a NEW BOX. A NEW product I have not seen before. A KIRKLAND REPLACEMENT for the Blue Diamond Product.
And now….Thank You Costco. You have just launched “Organic Unsweetened Non-Dairy Vanilla Almond Milk). When you look at the packaging it is clear that it is being marketed for the Smoothie market….but that does not matter to me. It is the same package….at the same price. Thank you Costco. Thank you Costco. Thank you Costco.
As you can see by the photos, the product seems to be identical. Next time you are at Costco, if you have been searching high and low for the almond milk, the love for Costco has returned.