This week, the American Soybean Association (ASA) and the Soyfoods Association of North America (SANA) jointly filed a letter in opposition of the Dairy Pride Act. The act was recently proposed by a group of congressmen from dairy-producing states that made the claim that plant-based products labeled as “milk” are misleading to consumers, and has since received a lot of opposition. “Consumers of soy milk clearly understand that the product is derived from soybeans rather than bovine milk,” the letter stated, “and a large percentage consume it for just that reason due to dietary choices or restrictions.” To prove that consumers are not misled by plant-based milk labels, the letter referenced a 2006 study wherein none of the 800 respondents surveyed were confused by the term “soy milk.” Soy producers are in a unique position, as they supply feed for both the animal agriculture industry as well as the base ingredients for plant-based milk products. However, their stance—in solidarity with food advocacy firm Plant Based Food Association—indicates a preference of which industry they more strongly support. While the letter acknowledges that soy producers provide two million metric tons of feed to the dairy cow industry, it states, “At the same time, soyfoods, and in particular the soy milk market, is not only a growing one for our industry, it is a key point of connection between farmers and consumers.” While the dairy milk industry has reported continuing gluts in profits, the plant-based milk industry is expected to grow to $35 billion by 2024.
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