Forbes: "Dairy-Free Milk is Draining the Dairy Industry" - VeggieBoards

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#1 Old 04-19-2017, 08:05 PM
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Forbes: "Dairy-Free Milk is Draining the Dairy Industry"

In a recent feature published by popular media outlet Forbes, writer Michael Pellman Rowland argues that plant-based milk is effectively bringing down the dairy industry. Rowland presents his argument in two parts: “The Best of Times” (or the remarkable boom of the plant-based milk industry) and “The Worst of Times” (or the dairy industry’s continuing economic downfall). “The growing popularity of dairy-free milk is slowly draining the American dairy industry,” Rowland writes, before pointing to the conflict surrounding the Dairy Pride Act (DPA)—legislation proposed by a group of congressmen from dairy-producing states that aims to ban the word “milk” from plant-based products. Those supporting the DPA claim that the term “milk” can only be used for products containing animal secretions and claims that plant-based milks are misleading to consumers. Those opposing DPA claim the legislation would serve only to protect the fledgling dairy industry from competition, and would violate corporate First Amendment free speech rights. Rowland envisions that the “battle for the milk mustache will only intensify” in coming years and concludes his analysis by stating, “It seems consumers are waking up to the realities around dairy and changing their behavior at the grocery store.” Recent market research studies predict that the plant-based milk industry will reach $35 billion by 2024, while consumer reports predict dairy consumption will fall by 11 percent by 2020.
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#2 Old 04-20-2017, 06:19 AM
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If plant-based milks already hold so much sway over the economy, what difference will it make if they pass a law and the producers start calling it mylk? Knowing Madison Avenue, they'll probably start calling it milf.
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#3 Old 04-20-2017, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy View Post
If plant-based milks already hold so much sway over the economy, what difference will it make if they pass a law and the producers start calling it mylk? Knowing Madison Avenue, they'll probably start calling it milf.
A similar law was passed by the EU some years ago. Had absolutely no detrimental effect on the plant-milk industry in the UK which has been growing exponentially since before the law was changed. Do I hear the rustle of straws being clutched by US dairy farmers and their cronies?

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#4 Old 04-20-2017, 09:49 AM
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I think dairy companies are still doing okay. In fact, many of them have branched out into plant-based milk and are positioned to win either way. They buy only what they can sell, and will cut off some of their suppliers completely if they have to, which is happening. So it's the dairy farmers here who are getting pretty desperate. Many of them blame recent changes in Canadian trade practices, while Canada blames American overproduction. It's hard to adjust in an agile way to falling demand, so they cope by auctioning off a large number of their dairy cows for beef. If the situation turns around and they've sold off too many, it's like they were caught panic-selling stocks or currencies during a short-squeeze and they have nothing to come back with. Like hard-hit coal miners and factory workers, they tend to be hostile to suggestions to "do something else instead." People who've only ever lived in one place and only done one thing for a living are pretty much in poverty traps. They're often inclined to blame everything and everyone except the life choices that keep them there.
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#5 Old 04-20-2017, 10:04 AM
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Whatever money they are losing on the sale of milk, they are gaining in the sale of cheese. The advertising resources poured into promoting cheese addiction over the past decade has been astronomical. It takes a lot more milk to make cheese and it carries a higher price point, not to mention we all know that cheese is the toughest thing for people to give up. So, I don't really think they care if people start buying more plant based milks - it's just something to detract from the larger issues.

That said, if they really want to split hairs on the accuracy of product labelling, why not call their product "cow breast milk" and cheese "coagulated cow breast milk" - I'll take "soy mylk" over that any day, thanks.
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#6 Old 04-20-2017, 05:51 PM
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There is a huge push back by the dairy industry of course, and from those who love dairy. The "real" food and "real milk" argument is being pushed everywhere, as well as mention of all the terrible chemicals that are supposedly in plant based milk, and "lack of nutrition". I belong to an osteoporosis forum on Facebook, and the anti vegan sentiment is very strong. Someone recently started a thread just for the sake of bashing vegans, and discussing how much worse their bones would be in years to come bla bla (as if we are all on their because were so healthy and strong right?), and at least 20 people responded bashing vegans. I did of course speak up to challenge the negativity and judgment on a forum that is supposed to be a "support group", and thankfully a moderator stepped in. But I am not blind to the fact that nondairy is still a minority in the grand scheme of things. Inevitably some omnis ditching dairy milk for plant milk for health reasons will be persuaded by the arguments over how much better dairy is than plant based milks.

I'm excited that plant milks are becoming more popular, but I am skeptical that the dairy industry won't continue to thrive for a long time to come. The local Dairy queen just up the road from where I live is VERY popular. :/
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#7 Old 04-20-2017, 09:15 PM
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It's really interesting to me how Trumps presidency may backfire against traditional conservatives, because this milk problem is even bigger than vegans and paleos avoiding dairy...the alt-right adopted milk as some neo-Nazi Twitter troll meme (much like Pepe the frog last year) and made some big stupid demonstration with really gross milk chugging in front of an art gallery in NY in February. FURTHERMORE, Trumps racism has a weird side benefit, that being that it's revealing how a lot of big corporations exploit underpaid foreign workers who are treated as little better than slaves. Recently the dairy board in the US complained that essentially having to pay American workers fair wages and/or changing the grotesque working conditions of factory farms would drive dairy milk up to $8 per gallon.

It's really only a matter of time. Tick tock.
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