Sales of milk in the United States have nosedived over the past decade, and the dairy industry is in panic mode.
The celebrity-heavy “Got Milk?” campaign didn’t breathe new life into moribund sales, so now the dairy industry is taking a more aggressive approach via a campaign called “Milk Truth”.
The Associated Press’ Candice Choi has many interesting details.
- “As Americans continue turning away from milk, an industry group is pushing back at its critics with a social media campaign trumpeting the benefits of milk.”
- “On Tuesday, the “Get Real” social media campaign will be announced at a dairy industry gathering in Boca Raton, Florida in conjunction with the National Dairy Council and Dairy Management Inc., which represent dairy farmers. The campaign is intended to drown out milk’s detractors with positive posts about the nutritional benefits of milk on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere. Milk brands, their employees and others in the industry will post the messages and direct people to a website where they can get more information.”
- “Online ads will also tout the superiority of dairy milk over almond milk, which is surging in popularity.”
- “The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which represents nutrition professionals, is supporting the Get Real campaign and its push to underscore “the decades of research reinforcing low-fat milk as one of the most nutrient-rich beverages available.””
Note that the only organization supporting this campaign is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which has the National Dairy Council as a sponsor.
One of Milk Truth’s main talking points is to bash almond milk simply because its protein content is lower than that of cow’s milk (1 gram of protein per 8 ounce serving vs. dairy milk’s 8 grams). Conveniently, the fact that soy milk has 7 grams of protein per 8-oz serving is ignored.
Since the average American adult is not deficient in protein, this focus doesn’t make much nutritional sense. It seems more like an easy opportunity to attack a beverage that has seen its sales rapidly grow over the past five years.
Dairy is a complex and loaded topic. Some people avoid it due to allergies or intolerances. Others decry the living conditions most dairy cows endure. Some folks simply prefer the taste of dairy alternatives.
While no one can argue against the fact that dairy products contain vitamins and minerals, when dairy is given the default position as a source of calcium and other nutrients, the unfortunate result is that all other sources are dismissed and discredited as mere alternatives.
We would prefer that no one food or be given that privilege. Otherwise, it’s too easy to ignore valid critiques of said product.
Kale, broccoli, and bok choy (which, unlike dairy products, contain vitamin K, a crucial nutrient for bone health) don’t have the power of millions of advertising dollars and the support of a huge professional nutrition organization.
We would much prefer that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics put forth objective information (i.e.: inform its members and the general public on all sources of calcium, which includes dairy products as well as the many non-dairy foods that fall in that category) rather than enable the dairy industry’s attacks.