Government plans to restrict plant-based milks

Posted on the 27th May 2023

The move could see plant milks banned from using terms like “Not Milk” or “Milk Alternative”.

The dairy lobby has long fought to bring about such changes. They claim that using words like ‘milk’, ‘not milk’ or ‘milk alternative’, as well as things like ‘cheese alternative’, are misleading to the public and that such words should only be used for animal-based milk products.

Unearthed, Greenpeace’s investigative unit, revealed that a report by the Food Standards and Information Focus Group (FSIFG) – which is a group of trading standards officers who advise government –, recommended restricting plant-based brands from using such terms. Documents obtained by Greenpeace show that Dairy UK, a dairy industry lobby group, has lobbied for years for this. The documents show that Dairy UK was “tasked” by DEFRA to advise FSIFG on this matter six years ago!

Read more in The Times

All of this is, of course, nonsense.

There is no evidence to show that somebody picks up a carton of oat milk, for example, and believes that it contains dairy. Or picks up a block of vegan cheese, mistaking it for dairy cheese. All polling and studies on this matter has found, categorically, that the public are not misled by plant-based product labelling.

The true reason for the industry taking such drastic steps is that the dairy industry fears the rise in popularity of plant-based products; they refuse to adapt to changing markets and refuse to acknowledge changing consumer demands for vegan products.

Plant milk sales in the UK are worth £276 million, and this is set to continue. This is something that government and farming industries should embrace and adapt to.

Why are countries banning plant-based foods from using “meat”-like words?

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