The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s comment period on milk labeling ends this week and new consumer research shows Americans largely disapprove of plant-based competitors being labeled milk. The survey also shows confusion around the nutritional content of milk versus plant-based competitors. The national survey, conducted by global market research firm IPSOS, said only 1-in-5 consumers said plant-based beverages should be labeled milk. About 50 percent of consumers mistakenly perceive that the main ingredient of a plant-based beverage is the plant itself. (The main ingredient of most plant-based beverages is water.) More than one-third of consumers believe plant-based beverages have the same or more protein than dairy milk, when milk has up to eight times more protein than its competitors. The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), which commissioned the study, hopes the data will show FDA that plant-based beverages should not be allowed to have the label milk on its products due to the amount of consumer confusion. “Plant-based beverage brands that sell nutritionally inferior products under the health halo of milk mislead consumers. FDA must enforce its existing regulations,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. The new data builds on previous surveys that were conducted in August and October of 2018.
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