“Would you like your coffee with cow milk or oat milk?“ It’s a question you often hear nowadays in coffee shops. It is almost a given that everyone, at both our Flagship store and our head office, prefers a plant-based alternative to cow milk. We love some creamy oat milk in our coffee in the morning, but a great deal could change for these beloved products in the near future…
So, what’s happening exactly? In October 2020 the European Parliament passed Amendment 171, legislation that will have enormous consequences for the plant-based food industry and the growing number of people who choose plant-based products when introduced. This basically means that any reference to “dairy” will be prohibited for non-dairy products. For example, plant-based products could not be described as “alternative to” dairy products. On top of that, plant-based products won’t be permitted to draw comparisons with their dairy counterpart in terms of ecological footprint and, in the most extreme case, plant-based products might not even be allowed to use the same packaging as dairy products.
These regulations all seem quite bizarre, especially for the European Union, which emphasizes time and time again how important a greener and more sustainable Europe is. They even present this as one of their main objectives. It seems that it is not the European Union itself that is pushing these ideas, but rather the powerful milk lobby. The milk lobby presents their case as if it would be confusing and “intentionally” misleading to consumers if vegan alternatives packaging are even remotely similar to anything related to dairy. However, we don’t believe these lobbyists truly misjudge these consumers. If someone reads “not milk” or “vegan product”, everyone understands that they’re not looking at a dairy product. These lobbyists are not concerned with the well-being of the regular consumer; they are scared that the growing industry of plant-based alternatives will threaten their own industry of dairy products and eventually their profits.
The ecological footprint of any animal-based product is far bigger than the ecological footprint of plant-based products with identical dietary value. In comparison to the different sorts of plant-based milk, cow’s milk has the biggest environmental impact in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and land and water use. Plant-based products not only have a smaller environmental footprint than their dairy counterparts, but also reduce animal cruelty all around the world.
On a more positive note, we can still try to stop them!
Here at Susan Bijl, we value sustainability in every aspect. Proveg has started a petition to stop Amendment 171 of the European Parliament. We have already signed this petition and would appreciate it if you would do the same. We want to enjoy our oat milk in our daily coffee. But above all, we want these products to stay accessible for everyone, without the milk lobby trying to make plant-based alternatives increasingly unattractive. If you agree, sign the petition below!
Sign the petition
For more information, click here!
Written by Danique van Dalen