The National Dairy Council, Dairy Management Inc. and other industry groups are launching a new social campaign to boost lagging sales, and counter what they say are false health claims and attacks on their industry and products from vegan consumers, and organizations such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The “Get Real” campaign will utilize social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to provide positive messages about the nutritional benefits of milk. Individual milk brands and their employees are expected to join the campaign. Also supporting the “Get Real” campaign is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which promotes the health benefits of consuming lower-fat dairy items.
Milk consumption is declining for a number of reasons, including the proliferation of non-dairy alternatives, especially almond milk, which may be a direct target of the campaign.
USDA figures about U.S. milk consumption have the industry running scared. Per person consumption has declined about 33%, to 14.5 gallons of milk per person a year in 2012, from 21.8 gallons of milk per person annually in 1970.
“Julia Kadison, CEO of Milk Processor Education Program, which represents milk companies, says the breaking point came last year when the British Medical Journal published a study suggesting drinking lots of milk could lead to earlier deaths and higher incidents of fractures. Even though the study urged a cautious interpretation of its findings, it prompted a wave of posts online about the dangers of drinking milk.
“I said, ‘That’s enough.’ We can’t have these headlines that ‘Milk Can Kill You’ and not stand up for the truth,” Kadison said in a phone interview.”
It remains to be seen whether the “Get Real” campaign will prove as iconic as the “Got Milk?” campaign, which went into a soft retirement a couple of years ago.