One of the hot button issues in the trade today is misleading labels on imitation “dairy” products. With this in mind, the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) is applauding State Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) for his proposed legislation to protect consumers from just that: misleading labels on imitation dairy items.
“As more soy and nut-based products enter the marketplace, it’s critical that consumers understand exactly what they’re buying,” John Umhoefer, the association’s Executive Director said. “While these products can mimic milk, they cannot deliver the same nutritional benefits.”
The proposed legislation by Marklein, Co-Authored by State Representatives Travis Tranel (R-Cuba City) and Loren Oldenburg (R-Viroqua), would “ban the labeling of products as milk or as a dairy product or ingredient if the food is not made from the milk of a cow, sheep, goat, or other mammals,” according to a press release.
“Consumers deserve clarity as they choose what to eat and how to best feed their families,” Umhoefer added. “We’re grateful for the partnership of lawmakers at the federal and state level who recognize that truth-in-labeling will help people make well-informed choices.”
And how did the industry glean the latest consumer insights? In a recent study with consumers—sponsored in part by the association—results showed that one-quarter of people believe real milk is present in plant-based foods that mimic cheese.
On top of that statistic, one-third of those studied think plant-based mimics contain protein, though imitators have little to no protein, the release went on. Add in that one-quarter think plant-based mimics are lower in calories or fat, and have fewer additives—with neither perception being true—and you can see that there may just be a lot lost in translation or, in this case, lack thereof.
How will the final proposed legislation fall? Keep checking back with Deli Market News for continued updates on the topic at hand.