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Milking it

26 February, 2021

The EU is close to passing a law that will restrict plant-based brands from marketing themselves as alternatives to dairy products. Amendment 171 (or AM 171) will ban phrases like ‘does not contain milk’, ‘alternative to butter’ and the twice-offender, ‘non-dairy ice-cream’, because they reference dairy products. 

The (dairy) milk industry argues that non-dairy rivals’ names like ‘oat milk’ are confusing to consumers, as it’s hard to tell the difference between these and dairy milk, butter, etc. While that seems unlikely, what’s even worse is that AM 171 will also prevent brands’ packaging from showing-off their comparatively lower environmental impacts – as another example of a direct comparison point between dairy and the plant-based alternative. 

To us, this beggars belief. Prohibiting plant-based products from disclosing their comparative sustainability credentials is completely at odds with the EU’s ‘Farm to Fork’ strategy to create a more sustainable food system, which includes legislative measures and acknowledges the key role of plant-based diets. And it takes crucial information away from consumers trying to make a difference. 

But Good Business favourite, Oatly, believes it’s not too late to overturn the amendment before it’s officially adopted into law. Its hilarious new campaign asks consumers, ‘Are you stupid? The milk lobby thinks you are’, with the aim of getting people to sign its petition against it. (Find out if you’re stupid – and join the fight against this insanity here). 

Whilst we’re an omnivorous office, we’d be sad to see roadblocks imposed on plant-based products in the name of stupidity. So, whether you like a splash of milk or ‘milk’ in your coffee, if you fancy joining the movement, you can sign Oatly’s petition here. 

By Cara McEvoy

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