It’s important that milk labelling and marketing is clear, so that consumers understand the nutritional and health benefits of dairy versus plant alternatives.
The last decade has seen a diverse range of products marketed as alternatives to dairy, including those made from soy, nuts, coconut, rice, oat, pea and newer sources like hemp and quinoa. These products have extended beyond ‘milk’ into ‘yoghurt’, ‘ice-cream’ and ‘cheese’.
Some products, particularly fortified soy beverages, do a reasonable job of mimicking the core nutritional elements of milk, whereas others bear little nutritional resemblance. Despite this, these products are frequently marketed as alternatives to dairy and concerningly, over a third of consumers believe milk alternatives are just as nutritious as dairy milk. i
This is alarming for dairy industries and government authorities around the world as not only does it create consumer confusion and undermine purchasing decisions, it also reflects a lack of ‘fairness’ in the current marketing strategies being adopted by the plant alternatives.
Dairy Australia supports global efforts to create separate categories for dairy and plant alternatives through a regulatory as well as communications approach.
Through its social media channels, both Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) and Dairy Australia recently encouraged dairy farmers who also support this position, to sign the ADF labelling petition http://farmers.org.au/campaign/reclaimmilk/ ahead of the state ministers meeting at the next Forum on Food Regulation in November (and also December) this year.
Dairy Australia is directing consumers through Google Search and other paid advertising to its You Ask, We Answer web hub to learn more about dairy and it’s unique attributes that set it apart from the rest. Other activities include engaging media and key influencers to help promote the benefits of dairy foods among consumers.
Below are some key points you might find helpful when having conversations around dairy and plant alternatives.
- Dairy foods are naturally nutrient-rich, with well-established health outcomes.
- There are a number of plant alternatives on the market, however they are not nutritionally equivalent to dairy foods.
- Over a third of consumers believe milk alternatives are just as nutritious as dairy milk.
- Dairy Australia recommends the development of regulation to prevent plant alternatives from trading on the qualities and values of dairy.
i Lewers Research. Dairy Australia Trust Tracker. September 2019.
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