I don’t know if it’s a sign of sea change in how America thinks about milk, or just a snyde advertising idea brought to you by the Dairy Council, but their latest “Real Milk Comes From Cows” ad campaign seem to be taking the offensive in an attempt to win over health-conscious consumers. Their latest ad campaign basically smears plant-based milks like almond, coconut, and soymilk by calling out ingredients that we’re supposed to think are scary, and dubbing their color as “weird.” Although Blisstree got tons of flak for being skeptical about milk’s nutrition value a few weeks ago, I think it’s safe to say that many share our concerns—at least enough to make the Dairy Council realize that we need more than cute photos of celebs with milk mustaches to convince us that it’s good to drink.
The ad shows milk alongside various plant-based milks, each with a list of ingredients, with some highlighted, implying that they’re more processed (and therefore less healthy). But they don’t call out specific brands or compare flavors; all of the alternatives contain sweeteners, which are all possible to avoid, and many contain preservatives which, again, aren’t all necessarily bad or impossible to avoid.
Meanwhile, the ad explains that cow’s milk only contains milk, skim milk, vitamin A palmitate, and vitamin D3; a much shorter ingredient list than any of the other milks. What they’re leaving out—and what you won’t find on an ingredients list—is that, unless specified otherwise, American milk comes from cows that are fed growth hormones and given antibiotics that aren’t necessarily safe for human consumption (other countries like Canada and everyone in the EU have banned their use for health safety reasons).
The same ad campaign takes pride in the fact that real milk doesn’t need shaking; another misleading claim. While most of the stuff you buy in the store doesn’t settle the way that nut milks or soymilk does, the reason doesn’t have anything to do with it being natural or healthy. In fact, raw, unprocessed milk does require shaking; it’s only through homogenization and the separation of milk fats that we get such a uniform product.
Their website also features an interactive “health benefits” section, with links to plenty of studies showing that it helps with everything from PMS to building beautiful hair, skin and nails. Again, many of these claims are up for debate, and many health-concerned consumers aren’t buying them.
The dairy council, of course, isn’t the first to take the offense with their ads; PETA has long promoted vegan diets by bashing the dairy and meat industries. But when dairy—a multibillion dollar industry that spends colossal amounts of money on ads—is adopting the same tacts, it seems like a sure sign that milk is in trouble.