Dairy Farmers Are Fighting Back Against Milk Alternatives

By: Anneken Tappe · February 06, 2024 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

Waging the Milk Wars

When have you last ordered a latte with dairy milk? Seriously, when? And don’t think America’s dairy farmers haven’t noticed, they know they have stiff competition.

Consumers have plenty of options outside of cow’s milk, including alternatives made from several nuts, oats, coconut, rice, flax, hemp, and soy. In response, traditional milk producers are getting creative in their efforts to lure consumers back to dairy.

Got Milk?

There is a push to force plant-based products to remove the word “milk” from packaging, and for the FDA to enforce a stricter definition for it: Products originating from lactating animals.

There have also been several viral videos poking fun at milk alternatives, including a satirical advertisement for the rather unappetizing (and entirely fictional) product “Wood Milk” featuring Aubrey Plaza, and a video offering support for victims of “milk shaming” starring Queen Latifah.

But where does this actually leave consumers?

More choices are clearly here to stay. For climate-conscious consumers, considerations like CO2 footprints and water consumption may nudge buyers towards certain products and away from others. Non-dairy milks have become a huge industry, raking in $2.5 billion. But dairy milk is still much bigger, with $15.8 billion sales last year. For companies selling both, such as multinational Danone (DANOY) sell both, this is great news.

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