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Authenticity Is Fake, So What About Soy Milk?

Add authenticity to the list of fake gimmicks. It was supposed to be a watchword for millennials, but now it’s just a stale notion of the 2000s. So who cares if soy milk is about as fake as can be. It’s not milk, but only FDA and the European Union care about that. Court documents revealed this week that USDA has no problem with calling fake milk, milk.

FDA Says It’s Gotta Be from Cows

Dairy producers don’t like it one bit when all these fake milks try to pass themselves off as some sort of holy water super milk. Early in the 20th century, FDA started setting standards for genuine foods. And for milk, FDA’s standard says the real thing comes from a cow’s udder.

Milky MilkAnything else is fake.

But in this age of authenticity, consumers are ready to pay a premium for stuff that seems authentic, even if it’s fake. All it takes is a little bit of marketing spin to make us think that pre-ripped and distressed jeans are a perfect mark of authenticity.

The range of white, non-milk liquids calling themselves milk could make your head spin. Soy milk, almond milk, cashew milk, rice milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, barley milk, quinoa milk. The list goes on. And then there’s Milky® Milk, but it’s from cows.

Anyway, the dairy industry is fighting to get FDA to enforce its regulations about what is milk and what is not. But USDA is not cooperating. They say that “soy milk” is plain language in everyday use. And over the objections of FDA, they’ve insisted on using it in consumer nutrition education materials.

Last month, European courts settled the matter. Only milk can be called milk in Europe, not those plant concoctions.

Authenticity Is Dead

Marketing consultant Annabel Acton tells us that “authenticity is over, it’s time for brands to get raw.” Raw brands express radical, even unpleasant honesty. So maybe plant milk marketers should fess up. Their products aren’t milk. They’re fake milk.

Go on. Rip off that scab. Be raw.

Click here and here for more on the plant milk versus dairy kerfuffle. For more on getting raw, click here.

Ripped Jeans, photograph © Erica Zabowski / flickr

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July 6, 2017