In a recent feature published by popular media outlet Forbes, writer Michael Pellman Rowland argues that plant-based milk is effectively bringing down the dairy industry. Rowland presents his argument in two parts: “The Best of Times” (or the remarkable boom of the plant-based milk industry) and “The Worst of Times” (or the dairy industry’s continuing economic downfall). “The growing popularity of dairy-free milk is slowly draining the American dairy industry,” Rowland writes, before pointing to the conflict surrounding the Dairy Pride Act (DPA)—legislation proposed by a group of congressmen from dairy-producing states that aims to ban the word “milk” from plant-based products. Those supporting the DPA claim that the term “milk” can only be used for products containing animal secretions and claims that plant-based milks are misleading to consumers. Those opposing DPA claim the legislation would serve only to protect the fledgling dairy industry from competition, and would violate corporate First Amendment free speech rights. Rowland envisions that the “battle for the milk mustache will only intensify” in coming years and concludes his analysis by stating, “It seems consumers are waking up to the realities around dairy and changing their behavior at the grocery store.” Recent market research studies predict that the plant-based milk industry will reach $35 billion by 2024, while consumer reports predict dairy consumption will fall by 11 percent by 2020.
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