Milk, who doesn’t love milk? Well, besides the lactose intolerant, vegans, PETA, and a host of other people. Let’s forget about those people though for the context of this article. This post is more along the naming conventions of products.
I read an article today that the Arizona house today voted to OK labels calling Almond Milk fake milk. This seems like a stupid law, how could people not realize that almond milk was not actually milk? But to me it runs deeper than that. Its not just about almond milk, or even milk in general.
Sounds crazy, right? But honestly that is what I think it should be called, or almond juice, or drink or whatever. Its not milk. I have heard the dumbing down of America arguments, people argue that anyone can look at a label and tell that the milk is not cows milk. I do not argue with that, as a drinker of almond milk, I would say you have to be pretty unobservant to mistake the two. I don’t see that as the real problem though, I see it as a deeper problem with deeper implications.
What is juice? What is apple juice? Apple juice is juice squeezed from apples. Apple juice is also 60% water 30% white cane sugar, and 10% apple concentrate. Both are apple juice and marketed as apple juice. Which one is really apple juice though? This creates confusion in the market. Of course it is more costly to grind up a bunch of apples, filter out the skin, chunks, and impurities than it is to take concentrate and add water.
The sole purpose of businesses is to generate money. If you are a multi-national public corporation like most companies that produce almond milk, you also have a duty to provide value to your shareholders. What if you are represented in both markets though? Of the top 3 almond milk producers, two of them also have massive dairy holdings. One of them has venture capital money that comes from stake holders in other dairy companies. So its not out of line to say that dairy has a hand in almond milk wanting to be able to be labeled with milk. But this seems counter to their interests, since they have dairy holdings.
Cheaper Milk Products
A long game is being played right before our eyes and most of us are not even aware. Right now milk has a FDA definition, its
Description. Milk is the lacteal secretion, practically free from colostrum, obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy cows. Milk that is in final package form for beverage use shall have been pasteurized or ultrapasteurized, and shall contain not less than 8 1/4 percent milk solids not fat and not less than 3 1/4 percent milkfat. Milk may have been adjusted by separating part of the milkfat therefrom, or by adding thereto cream, concentrated milk, dry whole milk, skim milk, concentrated skim milk, or nonfat dry milk. Milk may be homogenized.
You can read the whole description here, it is rather long and boring.
The point is milk is clearly defined currently. When companies with holdings in the dairy industry want to reduce the regulations on what can be called milk, I find it interesting. Why would companies want to dilute the current protections they have? Maybe they have another motive.
What if the reason is to dilute their milk products? I have no problem admitting I do not trust companies or their motives, so I find the situation suspect. The only thing I can figure is that the almond milk and dairy companies’ end game is dilute their milk products. The dollars do make sense in the long run, if the companies can sell milk that is not 100% cow milk, then they can make more money.
To circle back around, this is what the juice companies have done. There was a time that all fruit juice contained only juice. That time has passed and now it can contain added sugar, extra water, and other ingredients. I think this is precisely where the milk industry is going and they are using their alternative “milk” holdings to push this agenda.
The dumbing down of America argument was designed by these companies and their interests. We should push back against them. I personally think there is something wrong when my lemonade contains no actual lemon products, but my household cleaner does.