Petition to reclaim milk name

Australian Dairy Farmers launches petition to reclaim milk name for dairy products


Australian Dairyfarmer News
FAKE MILK: In the past decade, dairy has faced rising competition from plant-based products that are using the name milk, co-opting the look and feel of dairy milk.

FAKE MILK: In the past decade, dairy has faced rising competition from plant-based products that are using the name milk, co-opting the look and feel of dairy milk.

Aa

Australian Dairy Farmers has launched a petition seeking to have the Australian Government follow the lead of other countries and ban the use of the name milk for non-dairy drinks.

Aa

Australian dairy farmers can rightly be proud of producing a high-quality product with countless nutritious benefits, enjoyed across the world from our green pastures.

It's why Australian dairy products claim a premium price in lucrative export markets, particularly in Asia, including China.

But in the past decade, dairy has faced rising competition from plant-based products that are using the name milk, co-opting the look and feel of dairy milk right down to the packaging, and trading on dairy's reputation in order to gain a marketing advantage.

This marketing tactic not only affects the reputation of Australian dairy, but disadvantages consumers who rely on label information to make their shopping choices.

Of course, consumers are free to choose plant-based products and often do for legitimate reasons, but still, many choose plant-based "milks" because they feel it offers the same health benefits as dairy.

A 2017 survey by Dairy Australia showed 54 per cent of respondents bought plant-based milk alternatives because they perceived them to be healthier than dairy milk.

This dishonest labelling and marketing strategy has translated into sustained market growth.

Market research firm IBISWorld estimates Australia's plant-based "milk" product industry has grown at an annualised rate of 4.1 per cent over the five years to 2018-19, to $165.8 million today.

By contrast, the dairy cattle farming industry has declined at an annualised rate of 1.8 per cent over the same period.

One of the major themes out of the Dairy Plan workshops has been for better marketing and promotion of dairy, particularly its health benefits.

Well, we can start right now, by reclaiming the word milk from plant-based products.

A ban on plant-based products using the "milk" label would bring Australia into line with other countries, after the European Court of Justice in 2017 mandated that dairy terms could not be used on plant-based products, even with clarifying terms.

Within the EU, France has embraced stronger labelling rules by introducing laws expressly banning the use of meat and dairy descriptors in conjunction with vegan and vegetarian products.

Australia should also look to Canada, which has long been one of the few countries to enforce a ban on plant-based products being labelled milk, strictly protecting the word to describe the "lacteal secretion obtained from the mammary gland of a cow".

Both countries have imposed huge fines for breaches of these laws.

There has even been a significant shift in approach within the United States, with the Food and Drug Administration admitting that "an almond doesn't lactate".

Well, we can start right now, by reclaiming the word milk from plant-based products. - Terry Richardson

Australian Dairy Farmers is now calling on the Australian government to follow these examples and review the labelling and marketing of non-dairy alternatives.

This includes possible changes to the Food Standards Code and the development of additional regulations to prevent plant-based alternatives from "evoking" the qualities and values of dairy.

This will ensure that consumers trying to make a healthy choice at the supermarket have the benefit of transparent and accurate product labelling

ADF has started a petition calling on the federal government to act now.

I urge you to get online and log your support at http://farmers.org.au/campaign/reclaimmilk/.

Together, we can make a difference by convincing the government to reclaim the label milk and ban plant products from falsely using the term.

This story first appeared on Australian Dairyfarmer

Want to read more stories like this?

Sign up to receive our e-newsletter delivered fresh to your email in-box twice a week. Click here to sign up.

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by