A recent report on FoodBev.com highlighted the growth in sales of dairy alternatives, what are commonly referred to as soy milk, almond milk, rice milk and other plant milks.
Of course, I'm biased towards dairy, and like many others, I fail to see why these liquids are called 'milk', but that's a discussion for another day.
Dairy alternatives are obviously a challenge for the dairy industry and have been for some time. Dairy companies and dairy organisations, not unnaturally, advertise and promote milk and dairy products in a variety of ways, often stressing the nutritional value of such products.
Towards the end of last year, in the US, those great people behind 'Got Milk' released a new campaign called 'Real Milk'. The website took a look at coconut, almond, hazelnut and soy 'milks' and their contents. Three TV advertisements that supported the campaign spread the message that Real milk comes from cows.
Now, it seems, the campaign has been seized upon by a US vegan group. Under the title 'Look who's afraid', the vegan body has accused the dairy industry of launching 'an entire smear campaign' attacking the 'plant-based milks'. They claim consumers are finally 'wisening up' to the 'lack of nutritional value' of cow's milk.
A lack of nutritional value in cow's milk? I'm not quite sure about the science behind that claim.
Yet, I had to smile a little at what I perceived to be the rather hypocritical nature of the comments. While groups such as these see no problem in launching smear campaigns such as the anti-cheese billboards that appeared in New York recently, or the 'got pus?' campaign from another group just a few years back, when the dairy industry hits back with its own campaign, they cry 'foul' and claim it's out of order.
So, is it one rule for anti-dairy promotion and a different rule for dairy?
Geoff Platt is editor of Dairy Innovation magazine.