Why milk has been mis-marketed

Over the past few months we have seen many new ads launch for dairy products with the premise of pushing its nutritional benefits. But why just milk?

I heard an interesting point raised earlier this week from a vegan friend that it is perhaps a little strange that humans should drink cow’s milk. If you really think about it is a little disturbing. When we are born we drink our mother’s milk in order to grow. Mother’s milk is designed to give children the biggest growth spurt of their life and by breast feeding for just 12 months, a child will grow to twice its size by feeding on the breast milk regularly. Cow’s milk is intended for the same purpose, however it is for calves. If we did not milk cows they would stop producing milk. Therefore, cow’s milk was not intended for humans to drink! The Milk Marketing Board has done a tremendously good job at covering up this fact, as has Danone and Yoplait. In April this year Yoplait Dairy Crest launched a new television advertising campaign to promote its yoghurts as a ‘natural’ source of Vitamin D. The brand also launched an advertising push in February for its Yop brand which focused on promoting the importance of calcium and how yoghurt was a good source of the vitamin. I am not trying to deter anyone from milk by these revelations, but simply ask the question as to how marketers have so cleverly led us to believe that if we don’t drink milk our bones will break? An ad campaign that came out for the dairy industry late last year showed three kids coming home from school and running to the fridge for some snacks. The mother gave one child a slice of cheese, another a glass of milk and the last child a tub of yoghurt. The ad was to promote the fact that kids need calcium to help them grow and for strong bones. However, when Ofcom cracked down on the advertising of foods and drink that are high in fat, sugar and salt, the Food Standards Authority came up with a nutrient profiling model that deemed milk too ‘fatty.’ The revelation led to cereal aimed at kids no longer being able to be advertised as being consumed with milk. While the ad raises a good point, my point is that for too long we have been led to believe milk is a must have dietary requirement. The fact is, it isn’t. Other foods that are much higher in calcium and Vitamin D include broccoli, red beans, soy beans, cabbage, chickpeas and raw nuts. Milk isn't the be all and end all of nutrition. However, its a mulit-million pound a year industry that the Milk Marketing board has done a very good job to get us to consume.