Milk Processors to Dairy Skeptics: “Get Real”

With the dairy industry facing higher levels of skepticism against its key product in recent years, the Milk Processor Education Program is switching tactics by focusing on a transparent approach that isn't afraid to take on the rice milk in your pantry.

Clearly we’re past the heady milk-mustache days of the “Got Milk?” campaign.

Instead, the dairy industry, represented by the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), is looking to educate consumers about milk—and defend the dairy industry’s good name at a time when milk alternatives are starting to flood the shelves. (Raise your hand if you’ve had cashew milk in the past 12 months.)

“For some reason, milk has been under attack,” says MilkPEP’s new site,” “Some critics are saying don’t drink milk—it’s unneeded, unnatural, and bad for you. That couldn’t be further from the truth.”

The site, which goes into the science of what goes into your average cup of milk, takes cues from another recent transparency campaign: McDonald’s “Our Food. Your Questions.” ad campaign. With former MythBusters cohost Grant Imahara as its front man, the campaign addresses critical questions about McDonald’s food, highlighting things such as the production process of the McRib and whether so-called pink slime is used in its burgers., part of a new “Get Real” campaign being launched by MilkPEP, takes a similar approach, while noting the downsides of its competitors for your cereal bowl. For one thing, it notes that milk replacements often use a large number of ingredients—contradicting the reasons many might use those products in the first place.

“For instance, dairy milk has 8 times the protein of almond and rice milks—which contain a long list of ingredients, including added sugar, syrups, salt, thickeners and stabilizers,” the website states. “Real milk’s ingredient list is short and simple, with only ingredients you know.”

During the International Dairy Foods Association’s Dairy Forum 2015 earlier this week, MilkPEP CEO Julia Kadison said it was time to take a more aggressive approach against the misinformation floating around about the dairy industry. The new strategy seems focused on going head-on with information sources that didn’t exist when “Got Milk?” had its strongest impact.

“We’ve kept too quiet,” Kadison said, according to Wisconsin State Farmer. “The bear is out of hibernation and growling. We need to place super positive stories—a lot of them. We need to fight the battle in the social media and digital world.”

MilkPEP’s Marketing Manager Victor Zaborsky agreed.

“The truth is consumers are out there getting information from a lot of different sources. It is really important that we set the record straight and start telling the truth about milk,” Zaborsky said, according to AGWeb.

The “Get Real” campaign comes less than a year after MilkPEP retired its usage of “Got Milk?” in favor of a new campaign, “Milk Life.” That campaign remains active, as does “Got Milk?“, which is still running at the regional level through the California Milk Processor Board.

The dairy industry's new marketing effort isn't afraid to take on milk alternatives. (Digital Vision/Thinkstock)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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