Dairy Report: Consumers Confused by Labeling; Supply Outpaces Demand

Dairy Report 012919

The comment period for plant-based “dairy” labeling has ended and a cooperative says that consumers are still confused by the products.

In a press release sent on Jan. 31, Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative shared its thoughts form the recent comment period with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“The number of plant-based products using dairy names on the label has increased dramatically in recent years…. The lack of FDA action has led to an anything goes mentality in the marketplace,” the nearly 800 farm-member coop, says in its comments.

Also shared in the press release were the findings of a consumer study that showed a number of consumers still remain confused by plant-based product labeling. About 23% of the 450 consumers surveyed believed that plant-based foods mimicking cheese still contained pasteurized milk. Two in five consumers also believe that plant-based mock cheese contains the same amount of calcium, even though it is substantially less.

Milk Supply Higher Than Demand

The supply of milk looks like it will continue to climb, while demand won’t be able to keep pace according to a market analyst.

Nate Donnay, director of dairy marketing for INTL FCStone, tells Farm Journal’s MILK that for 2019 the market dynamic will be similar to last year.

“Fat might be a little bit lower, protein might be a little bit higher, cheese is in the middle and cheese average probably looks a lot like last year. At this point it doesn't look like we're going to see enough of a drop in production anywhere in the world to really drive things higher,” Donnay says.

For more on these stories watch the Dairy Report above from AgDay.