Dairy At Glance
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Does dairy need a closer look at its brand as people turn to what they believe are 'healthier' alternatives?

 
Does dairy need a closer look at its brand as people turn to what they believe are 'healthier' alternatives?
 
 
As consumers look to the shelves for what they consider to be healthier food options, alternative milks have been muscling in on the dairy market.
 
Key points:
Scientist says nutritionally, plant-based milks were in most cases inferior to dairy milk unless they are heavily fortified A third of consumers who buy plant-based milk also buy dairy milk
 
The Dietary Association of Australia says consumers needed to be better informed on the best options for their diet and not fall for trends But research often points to old-school dairy milk being the more nutritious option to have in your cup of tea or coffee, or on your breakfast cereal.
 
And one nutritionist, who has worked alongside the dairy industry, believes misconceptions about plant-based milk's health benefits over dairy milk was a clear sign the dairy industry needed a re-brand.
 
Nutritional food scientist Dr Anneline Padayachee said the idea that dairy milk was "worse for you", health wise, was misguided, and the industry needed to ensure it did not become more unfavourable with consumers.
 
"It's traditional. It's children's food. It's seen as what you have a dash of in your cup of tea or on your breakfast cereal — when it is not that at all," she said.
 
Nutritionist Anneline Padayachee stands in front of red dairy
Dr Anneline Padayachee is a big advocate for the health benefits of dairy milk. (ABC: Kate Stephens)
"Plant milks really are fixated on functional benefits, and they're actually promoting their products on a range of health benefits for a specific health outcome.
 
"Dairy milk doesn't really do that. It's well intrenched as calcium, strong bones and strong teeth in children. It's so much more than that."
 
Alternative milks, or 'mylks' as they've been dubbed, still only represented a small share of the overall milk market but it has been increasing.
 
According to figures from Dairy Australia it has risen from 5 per cent to 7 per cent between 2010 to 2017.
 
That accounts for 95 million litres of milk.
 
It is a shift that is well documented, and while many reports attribute the change, in part, to intolerances, they say people are looking for a more environmentally friendly and healthier option to have in their morning coffee or on their breakfast cereal.
 
Dairy milk needs a re-brand
Dr Padayachee said there were a number of reasons why dairy's reputation was taking a hit.
 
"In the 1970s and 80s fat was demonised," she said.
 
"Then we've got the fact that your plant-based products are just that — plant based.
 
"We're highly encouraged to have a more plant-based diet and we should. But that doesn't not mean a plant-exclusive diet.
 
"So when you hear that, it automatically infers that if you have a plant milk it's going to be healthier version. But it doesn't actually mean that, it's about your overall dietary quality."
 
The nutritional benefits of milk have been seconded by senior spokesperson and accredited practicing dietitian for the Dietary Association of Australia, Margaret Hays.
 
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She said consumers needed to be better informed on the best options for their diet and not fall for fashionable trends.
 
"It comes down to the individual and what they're using it for," she said.
 
"A lot of people don't have any clue when I start explaining protein content, and vitamin and mineral content.
 
"There's the information out there if people want to see it, but people are so quick to jump on board when someone is spouting-on about something."
 
Dairy industry monitoring developments
The move from dairy milk to alternative milk has been recognised by the dairy industry's main research body, Dairy Australia.
 
Managing director David Nation said dairy made up 93 per cent of milk sales.
 
But research done for Dairy Australia also showed about a third of consumers who purchased plant-based products also bought dairy milk.
 
Mr Nation said it would be a concern if consumers moved away from dairy for incorrect reasons, "if people have foregone milk for the wrong reasons and given up milk when it is actually the healthiest food they could be consuming," he said.
 
Mr Nation agreed there was work to be done by the industry to give it a better name, nutritionally.
 
"Milk has been there forever, people have been consuming it forever, so it's not new and funky," he said.
 
"Our challenge is to continue to talk about the value that it has in everyone's diet, at all ages."
 
Debunking myths about dairy
Dr Padayachee said "flexitarians" looking to have a better impact on the environment and health were often the ones to move towards plant-based milk.
 
A dairy cow's face close up
Dairy milk is considered better nutritionally, but worse environmentally, compared with milk alternatives. (ABC News)
But nutritionally, plant-based milks were often inferior.
 
"If a plant-based milk is properly supplemented — so it has added calcium and different vitamins and minerals added to it — then from that perspective [plant based and dairy milk] are fairly similar," she said.
 
 

 

Posted Date : 22/05/2019 Posted By : Admin