- WhiteWave Foods — which makes Silk — and Blue Diamond Growers — which makes Almond Breeze — were both hit with class-action lawsuits from consumers who say their alternative milk products falsely claim to be equally or more nutritious than dairy milk, according to Bevnet.
- While Almond Breeze Original contains calcium and several other important vitamins and nutrients, the suit against Blue Diamond Growers claims the product doesn’t have the same nutritional value as 2% milk.
- The National Milk Producers Federation said it has long been an advocate for stricter protection of milk’s standard of identity, although it is not directly involved in either suit.
It’s been a tough time for the milk industry. Demand for dairy is dropping, forcing farmers to dump millions of pound of milk last year and causing prices to decrease across the board.The situation got so bad, the U.S. Department of Agriculture offered dairy producers approximately $11.2 million in financial assistance to help deal with the industry’s current challenges.
According to a 2016 Canadean report, the market for white milk will decline across much of the globe, except certain developing nations.
A recent study by Mintel showed that U.S. non-dairy milk sales grew 9% in 2015, while dairy milk sales declined 7% over the same period. It’s no wonder that milk companies are coming after alternative milk products, which threaten to take more market share and cause dairy milk prices to drop even more.
First, the milk industry went after the makers of plant-based dairy substitutes for using terms like “milk” or “yogurt” on their packages. And a pending bill in the U.S. Senate, called the DAIRY PRIDE Act, would prohibit these plant-based products from having dairy-associated terminology on their labels.
Those fighting for the cause will tell you that milk comes from cows, not nuts, beans, grain or seed, a fact that the Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 points out. The National Milk Federation also points out that “all real milk has a consistent package of protein, calcium, Vitamins A & D, and five other nutrients” and that the ingredients used in the alt-milk products are not an equal substitute.