A new survey of 2,006 U.S. adults shows that just 20%, one in five, say plant-based beverages should be labeled “milk.” Even when limited to buyers of plant-based beverages, only 41% say they should be labeled as “milk.”
About half of consumers also believe that the main ingredient in plant-based beverages is the plant itself. In fact, these drinks are mostly flavored water.
In addition, more than a third of those consumers surveyed believe plant-based beverages have the same or more protein than dairy milk. While soy-beverage is similar to dairy milk in total protein content, some nut beverages have only an eighth as much.
“This new data is more proof that the plant-based food and beverage industry is exploiting consumer confusion to boost their bottom line, and consumers don’t like it,” says Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation. “Plant-based beverage brands that sell nutritionally inferior products under the health halo of milk mislead consumers. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must enforce existing regulations.”
FDA's comment period on milk labeling ends January 28.
The nationwide survey done online by IPSOS, commissioned by Dairy Management, Inc., was done October 30-31, 2018.