Plant-based ‘dairy’ products aren’t new. Neither is the U.S. dairy industry’s hostility.

March 27, 2019

Original article from washingtonpost.com.

Paul Shapiro is the author of “Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals Will Revolutionize Dinner and the World.”

Stroll through your local supermarket and it won’t be hard to see why some in the dairy industry are, well, having a cow. Milks and cheeses from soy, almonds, coconuts, cashews and even flaxseeds are decidedly in. Cow’s milk isn’t in danger of being put out to pasture, but consumption in the United States has been in a steady slide since the 1970s and the dairy aisle is getting crowded.

With interest in drinking cows’ milk waning, especially in Western Europe and the United States, and the popularity of plant-based milk rising, the Netherlands-based Rabobank in May advised dairy producers to diversify with investments in their alternative-dairy competitors. The major agribusiness lender noted: “Global retail sales growth for dairy alternatives has soared at a rate of 8 percent annually over the last ten years.”

The dairy industry is fighting back against the plant-based competition. One weapon is a campaign to prevent Big Dairy’s rivals from using coveted terms such as “milk” and “cheese” on product packaging. Under intense industry lobbying, the Food and Drug Administration may soon issue new guidance — the agency on Sept. 28 issued a request for comments “on the labeling of plant-based products with names that include the names of dairy foods such as ‘milk,’ ‘cultured milk,’ ‘yogurt,’ and ‘cheese.'” Last year Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) introduced the Dairy Pride Act “to require enforcement against misbranded milk alternatives.”

Read full article here.