The Senate has already put its hat in the ring on this issue, with senators Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Mike Crapo of Idaho co-sponsoring the “Defending Against Imitations and Replacements of Yogurt, Milk, and Cheese to Promote Regular Intake of Dairy Everyday Act” in 2021, which would force the FDA to make plant-based milk alternatives drop their “milk” labels.
Some people see this push as a deflection from the dairy industry. Dairy milk consumption has been slowly falling for decades — long before almond and oat milk hit the scene. As of January 2022, dairy milk consumption is down 42% from where it was 50 years ago. This has come as a result of general changes in American diets, as well as more recent disputes of the actual health benefits of dairy. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the jury is still out on the claim that calcium actually prevents osteoporosis, or the weakening of bones.
Meanwhile, there seems to be no slowing down for the rise of plant-based milk alternatives, particularly oat milk which has had a meteoric rise over the past few years. However, as the dairy industry continues to fight its decades-long decline, it seems that they will stop at nothing to reclaim dominance.