Califia Farms Original Oatmilk is 100% plant-based, non-GMO, carrageenan-free, gluten-free, vegan, and made with no artificial ingredients. In retrospect, all evidence found shows that this product is a great alternative to dairy milk. This company claims that sustainability is one of its core values and that are working to improve their environmental footprint but we have yet to see many of these initiatives be made.
The main ingredients of Califia Farms Oatmilk are oats and water. The oats are sourced in North America meaning that less energy was used for transportation compared to if the oats were sourced outside the United States. The water used to produce oat milk is also significantly lower than dairy, almond, and soy milk. Califia farms also add sunflower oil which adds nutritional fats and adds a creamy texture. Unfortunately, sunflower oil also has a high water and carbon footprint. It takes 814 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of refined sunflower oil and 2.2 pounds of sunflower oil emits the same amount of carbon used for driving 7.75 miles. All of the Califia farm products are also made of plastic. They do reassure consumers that their packaging can be recycled including their label sleeves and caps. This would be great if the US had reliable recycling systems in place but according to US Environmental Protection Agency only 8% of plastic produced is actually recycled.
Califia farms website mentions that their goal was to transition to 100% renewable power by 2020 but because no new information is provided we can guess that this goal was never met. However, they do seem to make an effort to use technology that allows them to lower their carbon footprint like energy-efficient motors with variable frequency drives and using condenser units that are activated by temperature sensors. They also use potable well water that is put through filters and purifiers that go beyond the standards of drinking water. 100% of the process-water from their Bakersfield plant is captured and recycled to local agriculture and other Direct trade partners. This is great because it reduces water waste and consumption. Califia farms also have Food Safety protocols in place to eliminate the risk of peanut cross-contamination. In addition, they have an allergen program and use cleaning methods and procedures approved for equipment to verify their allergen status.
There’s very little information provided by Califia Farms about its employees. However, they mention that each of their employees receives a full paid day off to volunteer at an organization of their choice. I think this is an admirable policy because it allows its employees to connect with other organizations and take a day off from their usual work schedule. Looking at Califia employee reviews on glassdoor.com and indeed.com, the overall rating of the company seems to be about a 3.5 out of 5. Despite the decent rating given to the company, reoccurring complaints I found were about the lack of support from managers and unclear roles and policies. I think these issues should not be taken lightly because having good management, clear roles, and clear policies is crucial to having a successful and sustainable business.