Milk Industry Fights Back Against 'Anti-Dairy Folks'

Milk Industry Fights Back Against 'Anti-Dairy Folks'

As Americans continue turning away from milk, a dairy industry group is pushing back at its critics with a social media campaign trumpeting its benefits.

The association says it needs to act because attitudes about milk are deteriorating more rapidly, with vegan groups, non-dairy competitors and other perceived enemies getting louder online.

Julia Kadison, CEO of Milk Processor Education Program, which represents milk companies, says the breaking point came last year when the British Medical Journal published a study suggesting drinking lots of milk could lead to earlier deaths and higher incidents of fractures. Even though the study urged a cautious interpretation of its findings, it prompted a wave of posts online about the dangers of drinking milk.

"I said, 'That's enough.' We can't have these headlines that 'Milk Can Kill You' and not stand up for the truth," Kadison said in a phone interview.

On Tuesday, the "Get Real" social media campaign will be announced at a dairy industry gathering in Boca Raton, Florida in conjunction with the National Dairy Council and Dairy Management Inc., which represent dairy farmers. The campaign is intended to drown out milk's detractors with positive posts about the nutritional benefits of milk on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere. Milk brands, their employees and others in the industry will post the messages and direct people to a website where they can get more information.

Online ads will also tout the superiority of dairy milk over almond milk, which is surging in popularity.

The campaign comes as milk's dominance in American homes continues to wane as beverage options proliferate. According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, people drank an average of 14.5 gallons (55 liters) of milk a year in 2012. That's down 33 percent from the 21.8 gallons (82.5 liters) a year in 1970.

One factor chipping away at milk's dominance is the growth of non-dairy alternatives. While soy milk's popularity has faded, retail sales for almond milk are estimated to be up 39 percent last year, according to Virginia Lee, a packaged food analyst with market researcher Euromonitor International.

Meanwhile, the USDA recommends adults get three cups of dairy a day, including options like fat-free, low-fat milk or calcium-fortified soy milk. And the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which represents nutrition professionals, is supporting the Get Real campaign and its push to underscore "the decades of research reinforcing low-fat milk as one of the most nutrient-rich beverages available."

But milk's wholesome image is nevertheless being muddied by diet trends and divergent attitudes about nutrition. Many who follow the popular Paleo diet, for instance, shun dairy because people didn't drink it during the Stone Age.

Animal welfare groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are also a thorn in the milk industry's side. On its website, PETA notes that "no species drinks milk beyond infancy or drinks the milk of another species" and details the cruel conditions dairy cows are often subject to.

Already, MilkPEP has tried some different tactics in hopes of battling milk's decline.

In 2007, the group started promoting chocolate milk as a recovery drink for athletes. Then last year, the industry dropped its "Got Milk?" campaign featuring famous people sporting milk mustaches in favor of a campaign called "Milk Life" that focuses on the everyday benefits of milk.

With the "Get Real" campaign launching Tuesday, Kadison said the industry plans to stop "the seeds of doubt" that "naysayers, these anti-dairy folks, and also the competitors" are planting in people's mind about milk "before the fever gets too high."

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Spell Check

Greg Booher
Oakfield, WI
1/29/2015 08:54 AM

  It doesn't seem to matter whether we are fighting what they are terrorist threatening our way of life in the good old USA or internal threats to our nations health - we are always reacting. Why don't we get on the offensive for a change including healthy diets including the old food pyramid.

rolla, MO
1/28/2015 11:34 AM

  It is about time the milk industry starts to stand up for itself. I am a milk drinker, with a background in nutrition. Why don't you fight back with real info and history. You need to fight back the real people who are harming not only the milk industry but the lay person who is not informed about nutrition. PETA is a very real terrorist group that is not only attacking the milk industry but farming in general. PETA IS A TRERRORIST GROUP. They are undermining our food industry. Try serving up some of there own propaganda. There are groups that ingest milk on a day to day basis. Normally it is consumed in the form of yogurt, or a fermented form. It is mainly consumed in this form due to lack of refrigeration. There is a tribe in Africa that drinks milk into adulthood. The Masi milk their cows. They eat their milk in a yogurt form of food that is mixed with blood of the same cow. There are other groups in the world that although don't drink milk as Americans do, still ingest milk as yogurt. PETA is a terrorist group in my mind. They miss lead people with their propaganda. Milk is almost the complete food. The only thing that milk is lacking is iron. A constant diet of just milk can bring on iron deficiency. We are allowing these heretics to destroy our citizens bodies with their propaganda. It is good you are getting some info out. You need more.

Jeannie Heflin
Haymarket, VA
2/2/2015 12:10 PM

  My question is why the milk producers don’t hammer the “not milk” producers for using the term “milk”. Apple juice is not apple milk. Orange juice is not orange milk. Almond juice is not milk. Webster’s dictionary defines milk as “a white nutritious liquid secreted by female mammals for feeding their young”. Ah, how does that include almonds, coconut, etc. None of the phony “milk” products equate to the purpose or nutrition of mammal . Don’t let "not milk" producers get away it.


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