Last year, demand for Oatly, a Swedish oat milk popular at third-wave American coffee shops, outpaced supply. National shortages ensued. Oatly superfans were devastated, and apparently willing to spend $25 per 32-ounce carton on Amazon. It’s tempting to write this off as a fluke or embarrassing display of disposable income. But the alternative milk industry has become a true juggernaut — too economically and culturally significant to ignore.In addition to cow, sheep, camel, and goat milks, others made from coconuts, peas, rice, soy, oats, and an array of tree nuts have arrived to entice and confound consumers. Our cups and the market runneth over. Almond milk sales reportedly surged 250 percent from 2011 to 2016. Cow’s milk is in a “decades-long slump,” according to Supermarket News, but it still comprises 90 percent of milk sales. Meanwhile, alternative milks jostle for position. Some market researchers predict the overall alternative milk market will surpass $34 billion by 2024.Having so many new options introduces a gallon of important questions. Does one alternative milk taste the best? Are they all expensive? Is almond milk terrible for the environment? Or is that cow’s milk? Which is the healthiest?
Around the world, people eat far too much red meat and sugar, and nowhere near enough nuts, fruits and vegetables, according to a report released Wednesday. The report, published by the British medical journal The Lancet, said the population's diet and food production must radically change “to improve health and avoid potentially catastrophic damage to the planet.” Changing the diet of billions of people “will require global consumption of foods such as red meat and sugar to decrease by about 50 percent, while consumption of nuts, fruits, vegetables and legumes must double," it said."The dominant diets that the world has been producing and eating for the past 50 years are no longer nutritionally optimal, are a major contributor to climate change, and are accelerating erosion of natural biodiversity."One of the report authors, Dr. Walter Willett of Harvard University, said that "to be healthy, diets must have an appropriate calorie intake and consist of a variety of plant-based foods, low amounts of animal-based foods, unsaturated rather than saturated fats, and few refined grains, highly processed foods, and added sugars."
New national survey data released Jan. 10 found that consumers – by a nearly three-to-one margin – want the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to enforce existing regulations and prohibit non-dairy beverage companies from using the term “milk” on their product labels. FDA is currently soliciting public comment regarding front-of-package dairy labeling regulations through Jan. 28.
Today, the National Pork Board released the first report from its ambitious and comprehensive Insight to Action research program. The report, Dinner at Home in America, examines the contextual occasions in which Americans are eating dinner in the home. The research identifies areas of growth opportunity for pork, serving up a bold new challenge to the pork industry: innovate or risk losing relevance with today’s – and more importantly tomorrow’s –consumer. Altogether, the National Pork Board uncovered nine unique dining occasions, or needs states, happening in homes on any given night of the week, ranging from solo dining to celebrating with extended family. During the course of any week, the same person can experience multiple eating occasions as their needs throughout the week change.Sutton emphasizes this research is groundbreaking because it goes further to answer questions around what people eat and why.
More than four months after Missouri became the first U.S. state to regulate the term “meat” on product labels, Nebraska’s powerful farm groups are pushing for similar protection from veggie burgers, tofu dogs and other items that look and taste like real meat. Nebraska lawmakers will consider a bill this year defining meat as “any edible portion of any livestock or poultry, carcass, or part thereof” and excluding “lab-grown or insect or plant-based food products.” It would make it a crime to advertise or sell something “as meat that is not derived from poultry or livestock.”Similar measures aimed at meat alternatives are pending in Tennessee, Virginia and Wyoming. They come amid a debate over what to call products that are being developed using the emerging science of meat grown by culturing cells in a lab. Supporters of the science are embracing the term “clean meat” — language the conventional meat industry strongly opposes.
If anyone in Canada is skeptical of how chickens are raised in the country should be able to consumer Canadian chicken with confidence after a recent transparency project from Chicken Farmers of Ontario. A group of Canadian food bloggers were invited to tour a broiler chicken farm in Ontario.In the video, which was posted about a month ago, a farmer named Jacqui, explained why she felt it was important to open up her farm, which appeared immaculate both inside and outside of the barns, to the visiting writers.
Stepping outside of the dairy sector and joining the plant-based craze, the Greek yogurt giant, Chobani, has released a non-dairy coconut-based yogurt alternative.
Young people are living up to the "Generation Yum" label coined by author Eve Turow with their connection to the people, places and practices that raise our food—according to new research from Cargill. In its latest Feed4Thought survey, Cargill found that twice as many young respondents (18 – 34) in the U.S. and China reported knowing a livestock or seafood farmer compared to those over 55—with similar trends in Mexicoand France. And while 81 percent of 18-to-34-year-old Chinese participants said they have visited a livestock or seafood farm during their lifetime, only 50 percent of their older compatriots had. Young respondents in every country surveyed were more likely to have visited a farm than those over 55, despite the fact that, globally, there are fewer farmers to know or visit today than there were a generation ago.
About one in five Americans think they have a food allergy, while the actual prevalence of food allergies is closer to one in 10. That’s the major finding of a new large-scale study published in the JAMA Network Open and led by Dr. Ruchi Gupta from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Northwestern University. Gupta’s survey of more than 40,000 American adults found that while nearly 19 percent believe they’re food allergic, only about 10.8 percent, or 26 million Americans, were food allergic at the time of the study. “While we found that one in 10 adults have food allergy, nearly twice as many adults think that they are allergic to foods, while their symptoms may suggest food intolerance or other food related conditions,” Gupta said. “It is important to see a physician for appropriate testing and diagnosis before completely eliminating foods from the diet.” The study stresses that people with suspected food allergies undergo testing for confirmation to avoid eliminating potentially healthful foods from their diet and impacting their quality of life.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently dismissed a class-action lawsuit against California-based Blue Diamond Growers, the producer of Blue Diamond almond milk, ruling that its “milk” label does not violate federal law. In Painter v. Blue Diamond Growers, the plaintiffs alleged that Blue Diamond’s almond milk products should be labeled “imitation milk” because they “substitute for and resemble dairy milk but are nutritionally inferior to it.” The court determined that under the “reasonable consumer” standard that governs these claims, the plaintiffs must show that members of the public are “likely to be deceived” by Blue Diamond’s labeling and advertising practices. “Notwithstanding any resemblance to dairy milk, almond milk is not a ‘substitute’ for dairy milk as contemplated by [federal law] because almond milk does not involve literally substituting inferior ingredients for those in dairy milk,” the court found. Last year, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sought input from the public on its understanding of terms such as “milk,” “cheese,” and “yogurt” when included in the names of plant-based products. The information it gathers will inform the FDA’s decision as to whether plant-based milk products need special labeling rules.