Got milk? Depends on your definition

  • Opinion
  • March 2, 2017
  • Courtney Devereux
Got milk? Depends on your definition

A lobby group for the Australian dairy industry is unhappy with the rise of plant-based milk products, claiming the use of the word 'milk' is confusing for customers and trades on the dairy product's good name. So who's in the right? And will it impact on the New Zealand industy? 

Just in case you think you’ve heard the grossest milk-related sentence, think again. Food Standards Australia and New Zealand defines the word milk as "the mammary secretion of milking animals". But other definitions include plant-based milks, with Webster’s saying it can also be ‘a food product produced from seeds or fruit that resembles and is used similarly to cow's milk'. 

According to a lobby group for Australian farmers, Dairy Connect, there is a call for ‘truth in labelling crackdown’ on the way the word ‘milk’ is used by manufacturers of plant-based milk products, which can include soy, almond, cashew, coconut, rice and sesame. 

This reliance on an industry-only definition of the word makes it a curly decision for Food Standards New Zealand, however James Crow, co founder of Little Island Coconut Creamery, says avoiding consumer confusion should be paramount.

“If anything, the growing concerns around dairy farming’s connection with declining water quality, climate change and bobby cows makes the out-dated market definition of ‘milk’ a risky one to use. However, it works best for shoppers and they are who we’re there to serve, not any lobby group or competitors,” says Crow.

Dairy Connect has stated that soy milk and almond milk are among the top culprits of customer confusion. 

Plant based milks can include: Soy, almond, cashew, coconut, rice and sesame.

It’s easy to get protective over an industry that has faced a drop in sales already. In just the past two years, the National Business Review says New Zealand dairy revenue has plummeted down 29 percent from a high of 35 percent in 2016, due to overproduction of milk combined with rapidly declining demand. Compare that to almond milk, which has grown by 250 percent in the past five years in the US, with the dairy alternative milk category grossing $1 billion in sales. Almond milk alone brought in more than $894 million in sales in 2015 and the second largest, and fastest growing plant-based milk is coconut (Little Island Creamery was placed 27th at last year’s Deloitte’s Fast 50 with 305 percent growth). 

According to global lactose intolerant statistics, in New Zealand 33 percent of adults over the age of 20 consider themselves to be lactose intolerant. And more so recently there have been several websites dedicated to alerting people to the bad side of milk.

In September 2016, Fonterra said New Zealand milk collection dropped 2 percent while in Australia it was down 9 percent. Season to date figures indicate a 2.9 percent drop in milk production compared to last year, with a 4.9 percent decline in the North Island, and a 13 percent drop in Australia.

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How did that happen? The rise of influencer marketing

  • News
  • October 20, 2017
  • Courtney Devereux
How did that happen? The rise of influencer marketing

Something has changed recently that has sent shockwaves through the marketing world. This is, put simply, that the current influencers brands are able to work with are infinitely more humanised, approachable and accessible than ever before.

Read more
 
 

Creating an experience for Halloween

  • News
  • October 19, 2017
  • Courtney Devereux
Creating an experience for Halloween

Halloween is slowly approaching, and while some retailers are doing their bit to stock the themed holiday goods, Look Sharp is adding a spooky experience to its offering to draw consumers in.

Read more
 
 

How to sell to a Kiwi Millennial

  • Opinion
  • October 19, 2017
  • Brad Mcintyre
How to sell to a Kiwi Millennial

Want to sell to youth (and "youth-adjacent") people in New Zealand today? Then you better think differently, says Eventbrite's Brad McIntyre.

Read more
 
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Former Nosh owner Veritas Investments fined

  • News
  • October 19, 2017
  • Sarah Dunn
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Read more
 
 
 
 
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