A majority of consumers understand that plant-based milk products do not contain animal milk, according to a new survey by International Food Information Council (IFIC). Between August 4 and August 6, 1,000 adults were given a list of products with items such as “whole milk,” “chocolate milk,” “nonfat milk,” “coconut milk,” “rice milk,” and “almond milk,” and given the question, “Of the products below, which do you think contains cow’s milk?” On average, 75 percent of consumers stated that the plant-based milk items on the list did not contain animal milk and a majority correctly identified product names that referred to animal-derived dairy. The biggest confusion was in the “lactose-free” category, where only 48 percent of consumers believed products labeled with this terminology contained cow’s milk. “A significant majority of people understand correctly which products contain and which do not contain milk from cows when shopping for various types of products labeled using the word ‘milk,’” IFIC stated. A number of dairy lobby groups have urged the Food and Drug Association (FDA) to limit the use of terms such as “milk” to refer only to animal-derived products, citing consumer confusion as the overarching argument for changing labeling standards. FIC’s research was published in conjunction with the closing period of FDA’s Request for Information inquiry, which it issued in September to solicit public comments about current labeling standards, and shows that consumers are not confused by vegan milk labels.
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