When people think about milk, they think about the health benefits of dairy products.
Milk is high in calcium, and contains a number of vitamins and minerals vital for bone health and overall wellbeing. As a dairy farmer, I take great pride in our natural, high quality, and highly nutritious product that is enjoyed across Australia and around the world.
Dairy is so well loved as a natural and nutritious product, that food companies have resorted to using the word 'milk' to sell their highly processed plant-based alternatives that are often full of added sugar, colours, flavouring and preservatives.
Some consumers are making the switch to plant-based alternatives because they associate the health benefits of milk with these alternatives. A Dairy Australia survey found that 54 per cent of respondents believed that plant-based alternatives were better for them than dairy.
Last week, Australian Dairy Farmers launched the 'Reclaim Milk' campaign. The campaign aims to introduce truth labelling in the dairy cabinet and ensure non-dairy products cannot falsely use dairy language and labels.
Plant-based alternatives are trading on the trust and value built by the dairy industry to sell their product. A ban on plant-based products using the 'milk' label would bring Australia into line with other countries such as France, Canada and the US.
We absolutely support consumer choice at the supermarket, but food companies should not be allowed to mislead consumers with deceptive food labels.
It's time we let our politicians know that we want milk to be called milk, and these alternatives can be called, well anything else. I urge you to get online and show your support for truth labelling at http://farmers.org.au/campaign/reclaimmilk/.
- Paul Mumford, United Dairyfarmers of Victoria president