The answer to an age-old question in advertising used to be simple. Got milk? Yes, America answered. But that is not our new reality. The question remains the same. The answer now? What kind of milk?
Milk is no longer something your local milkman drops off in a crate on your front porch. Milk comes in many different varieties. There are dairy versions like cow, goat, sheep, or buffalo (though the last two milks usually end up as cheeses). If you’re vegan or lactose-intolerant, there are options like almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, rice milk, hemp milk, oat milk, pea milk…yeast milk? At this point, it’s safe to say milk is a both a universal and incredibly niche item. Cow milk is everywhere, but if you know where to look, the options magically open up.
Protecting the People from Reading Labels
More than thirty congressional members have signed a letter to the Food and Drug Administration to ask that the FDA take “appropriate action” in regards to milk labels. While their idea of appropriate action is not specified in the letter, it’s clear that the dairy industry considers plant-based milk products a threat. Unfortunately for the current food establishment, this is not the first or last time customer demand will force them to adapt or die.
Americans are eating less meat. They’re more environmentally conscious. Allergies are also on the rise, and more people are beginning to see the correlation between what they eat and their overall health. Half of Americans consume non-dairy milk, and over one-third of them are open to plant-based eating in general. This is naturally going to open up the food market for healthy competition from alternatives to traditional meat and dairy. The “appropriate reactions” from big food companies so far have been to run to the FDA, claiming a product label like almond milk has the potential to fool customers into thinking they are buying dairy milk. Another example is Hellman’s Mayonnaise claiming consumers needed to be protected from vegan mayonnaise because it isn’t “real” mayonnaise.
Is This the System We Want?
Large corporations often handicap their competition while pretending to play the part of the consumer’s champion. Pay no attention to the fact that the vegan mayo behind the curtain is serving a growing population looking for healthier and more environmentally friendly options while egg costs have never been higher. You, the consumer, have been wronged by their confusing label. The language in the letter to the FDA from dairy state congressmen seems altruistic…until you realize they have claimed the consumer is not capable of reading a label. Why on earth does this box of milk have almonds on it? This is sooooo confusing!
Consumers have more access to information than ever before, and they’ve changed. Questioning the status quo is now the thing to do. Tactics like letters released and lawsuits filed over “misleading labels” are a system that believes people aren’t able to see the bias, and it’s also one of the reasons these industries are floundering right now. Consumers want healthier options and product accountability. Hellmann’s may have figured something out… their new vegan mayo line launched in 2016, 2 years after they tried to shut down Just Mayo.
- Hellmann’s Vs. Just Mayo – The Very Interesting Battle Within the Mayo Industry
- Cheap and Easy Detox Diet Plans (and more)
- 6 Food Industry Tricks You Don’t Know About
- Dairy Industry has a Cow over Plant-based Milks – Grist.com
- Your Breakfast is About to Take a Weird Turn – Mother Jones
- Welch-Simpson Letter – National Milk Producers Federation
- Vegan is Going Mainstream, Trend Data Suggests – foodnavigator-usa.com
- Hellmann’s Vs Just Mayo – Who Knew Mayonnaise Could Be Such a Hot Topic – Natural News