For the past decade there has been a rise in consumers choosing plant-based milk alternatives. During this time there has been some confusion around the nutritional and health benefits of milk, cheese and yoghurt.
While only three per cent of consumers purchase alternatives exclusively and the general sentiment towards trust in dairy is high, the shift continues in a gradual upward trend.
As a result it's important for consumers to understand the naturally nutritious health benefits of dairy and how they differ from plant alternatives.
Dairy Australia is supporting global efforts to create separate categories for dairy and plant alternatives through a regulatory as well as communications approach. Some of the products marketed as alternatives to dairy, include those made from soy, nuts, coconut, rice, oat, pea and newer sources like hemp and quinoa. These products have extended beyond 'milk' and into 'yoghurt', 'ice-cream' and 'cheese'.
It comes as a concern that over a third of consumers incorrectly believe that milk alternatives are just as nutritious as dairy milk (Lewers Research, Dairy Australia Trust Tracker, September 2019).
While some products, particularly fortified beverages, do a reasonable job of mimicking the core nutritional elements of milk, others bear little nutritional resemblance.
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 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.
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