Big Dairy Wants FDA to Ban Vegan Co’s From Using “Milk,” “Cheese.” Stop Them!

It’s such an obvious ploy that it would be laughable—if it weren’t so infuriating: Big Dairy is so threatened by the success of plant-based alternatives that they are lobbying the FDA to ban the use of words like “milk,” “cheese,” and “butter” on plant-based dairy packaging. They claim labels such as “almond milk” and “non-dairy ice cream” are somehow confusing to consumers, while “almond beverage” and “non-dairy frozen dessert” aren’t. This is a blatant attempt to limit the booming, healthier, and more ethical plant-based dairy industry.

Don’t let them succeed: Submit your comment to the FDA before January 29 to ensure your voice is heard.

Clearly, Big Dairy is scared these products will eclipse their own—and they should be.

In the United States, the numbers speak for themselves: Sales of animal milk decreased by 4.5 percent in 2017, and consumer reports predict dairy consumption will fall 11 percent by 2020. The United States Department of Agriculture released new data revealing dairy farmers had to purge over 43 million gallons of excess milk during the first eight months of 2016 alone. Also in 2016, the USDA spent $20 million to buy the dairy industry’s surplus cheese.

Meanwhile, according to 2016 projections, the market for plant-based milk will reach $35 billion by 2024—an astounding increase of 16.6 percent from 2013. Market research also forecasts that the vegan cheese market in 2024 will see a compound annual growth rate of 7.6 percent from 2016.

Wiser companies have decided not to fight the change consumers so obviously want. After Dean Foods suffered a 91 percent drop in net profits, the dairy brand invested for a minority stake in flax-based vegan brand Good Karma Foods. Danone’s recent acquisition of Silk and So Delicious umbrella company WhiteWave Foods is another notable sign of the shifting market. Elmhurst Dairy, one of the oldest and largest dairy processors in the U.S., recently rebranded itself as Elmhurst Milked, switching from 100 percent cow’s milk to 100 percent plant-based milk. This is the direction Big Dairy should go in. Instead, they have opted to claim familiar labels are somehow the problem.

Fortunately, we can add our voices and tell the FDA that we as consumers are not confused by the terms “soy milk” or “plant-based cheese” on animal-free products by submitting a comment here. Please tell the FDA that restricting labels on plant-based foods stifles competition, inhibits progress, and is unnecessary and wrong.

Unique comments are more effective, so please consider personalizing your message before submitting. The deadline to submit comments is January 28, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time, so act now to make sure your voice is heard! We can’t let Big Dairy get away with this flagrant attempt to confuse consumers with new, unfamiliar labels and limit other companies’ ability to do business.

The writing is on the wall, and it’s time Big Dairy stopped trying to erase it.