The plant-based food industry is booming more than ever before, with an overall global demand for plant-based food products rising by 140 percent in just a few years. Alternatives to meat and dairy have proven to be especially popular with consumers who have health, environmental, or animal welfare concerns on their mind. Add the high prevalence of lactose intolerance due to the fact humans do not naturally consume milk after childhood, let alone other animals’ milk, and plant-based milks made from everything like the standard soy and almond to coconut, peas, cashews, rice, macadamia nuts, flax, hemp, oat, hazelnuts, and so on, are being preferred over dairy milk.
This major market shift has resulted in many dairy plants losing their wholesale contracts or shutting down, with some wise farmers making the decision to switch to growing almonds or other plants instead of rearing livestock. The plant-based milk market has been growing so significantly that it is estimated to reach a value of $16.3 billion in 2018!
Because of plant-based milks’ success, dairy producers, and those who profit from them, have made a number of attempts (by way of lawsuits) to stop these plant-based milks from using the label “milk”, claiming that the term is misleading and confuses consumers into thinking the products are made from dairy. Well, researchers at The Good Food Institute wanted to see if consumers are actually confused by labels like “almond milk”, and the results are really no surprise at all…
Those surveyed were given simple fill-in-the-blank prompts: ”Please select the primary ingredient used to make [descriptor] milk.” and given the options of “Almonds, Soybeans, Cow’s milk, Other ____”
- 96 percent selected soybeans as the primary ingredient used to make soy milk.
- 94 percent selected cow’s milk as the primary ingredient used to make 2% milk.
- 94 percent selected cow’s milk as the primary ingredient used to make whole milk.
- 93 percent selected almonds as the primary ingredient used to make almond milk.
- 89 percent selected cow’s milk as the primary ingredient used to make skim milk.
So, there you have it, Big Dairy! By and large, no one is confused by plant-based milks being labeled with the term ’milk’; consumers simply do not want dairy anymore! If this simple study didn’t prove it … and the fact that there is enough cheese stockpiled in the U.S. to fill the entire Capitol Building isn’t hitting home, we suggest maybe looking more into WHY Big Dairy is the only group out there that seems to be confused by dairy alternatives.
To learn about the environmental impact of meat and dairy and how you can help be a part of the solution to heal our Earth by ditching animal products, be sure to check out the Eat for the Planet book!
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