Our dairy farmers across the state applaud the efforts of Sen. Marklein and Reps. Tranel and Oldenburg to create a clear distinction between real dairy foods and plant-based imitations.
The results of a recent national survey about imitation cheese confirm the customer confusion:
• About one-quarter of customers mistakenly think plant-based products that mimic cheese contain milk.
• About one-third of customers think plant-based imitation cheese contains protein, and 21 percent think that it is of a higher quality than dairy, even though the imitations have little to no protein. Real dairy cheese has seven grams of protein.
• About one-quarter of customers purchase plant-based foods that mimic cheese because they believe them to be low in calories and fat and without additives. In reality, these plant-based foods contain an equal or comparable amount of fat and calories and substantially more additives than dairy cheeses.
Tom Crave, president of the Dairy Business Association
Editor’s note: Legislation proposed last week by three legislators – Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) and Reps. Travis Tranel (R-Cuba City) and Loren Oldenburg (R-Viroqua) – would ban the labeling of plant-based products as milk or as a dairy product or ingredient if the food is not made from the milk of cows, sheep, goats or other mammals. They claim the plant-based food industry masquerades its products as real dairy foods, which they say confuses customers who often make judgments about a food’s nutritional value based on its name.