A major threat to Earth’s future is the acceleration of climate change. There has been a widespread call for businesses to cut their carbon emissions as the globe struggles to find long-term solutions. Among these, the dairy industry is seeing more and more competition from products made from plants. Named “The Milk Wars,” this conflict between conventional dairy and vegan alternatives is about more than simply market dominance. The fate of our planet hangs in the balance.
Plant-Based Milk’s Rapid Ascent
Vegan milk substitutes have been increasingly popular in recent years. More and more, shoppers are thinking about how their food choices affect the environment and are looking for healthier options. The Good Food Institute reports that between 2019 and 2022, sales of plant-based milk increased by 19%, while sales of animal milk decreased by 4%. These days, 15% of the market is devoted to plant-based alternatives.
Oatly is a major participant in the movement towards plant-based milk. The company’s sustainability-focused advertising has been effective in shifting consumers away from dairy products and toward oat-based alternatives. Oatly boasts about the carbon footprint reductions achieved by using oat milk in their yearly sustainability report. People were able to avoid emitting 471,047 metric tons of CO2 equivalent thanks to Oatly by the end of 2022.
The Revolt of the Milk Industry
The dairy industry is determined to maintain its market share despite the growing popularity of plant-based milk alternatives. Campaigns aimed at plant-based alternatives have been launched by industry groups like the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB) and the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP). These initiatives are an attempt to persuade people that regular old dairy products are the way to go.
In light of the popularity of plant-based milk alternatives, MilkPEP, makers of the now-iconic “Got Milk?” campaign, have released high-production-value advertisements starring famous actors and actresses. They debuted an advertisement this year that featured Aubrey Plaza in a parody of “wood milk,” which was meant to poke fun at nondairy milk beverages. Octopus and hot dog milk were among the ridiculous items listed by CMPB, who also participated in the ridicule. The dairy industry is attempting to discredit plant-based alternatives by utilizing celebrity endorsements and humor.
The Impact of Advertising on Consumer Trends
When it comes to influencing customer actions, marketing is paramount. It could sway consumer decisions and increase the demand for eco-friendly goods. “I don’t think [the milk industry’s tactics] are going to stick,” says CB Bhattacharya, the University of Pittsburgh’s H.J. Zoffer chair in sustainability and ethics, in response to rising consumer awareness of the role animals play in global warming.
By endorsing plant-based alternatives, sustainability-focused brands and advertisers can help lower demand-side carbon emissions. Marketers have a pivotal role to play in changing consumer preferences and behaviors by starting a dialogue about the food system and showcasing the advantages of alternatives, such as oat milk.
Getting People to Talk About Climate Change
Oatly stands out for its daring approach to getting people talking about the environmental impact of conventional dairy. The “Ditch Milk” campaign went viral in Sweden, prompting politicians and media personalities to weigh in via opinion pieces and talk shows. In order to bring about real change, according to Ashley Allen, chief sustainability officer of Oatly, it is necessary to instigate conflict and then transform it into a debate or contest.
However, in order to start a meaningful dialogue about the food system, how can marketers do more than just sell products? Allen of Oatly wonders, “How can we engage people in a conversation about the food system and go beyond selling products?” Regarding the many reasons why conventional dairy products don’t work.
Altering One’s Discipline for a More Sustainable Future
Although the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions is the combustion of fossil fuels, the production of food also plays a role. The most effective way for individuals to decrease their carbon footprint, according to Project Drawdown, a climate solutions group, is to eat less meat and more plants. In industrialized nations, the consumption habits of the wealthy have a major influence on emissions.
Influencing consumer behavior and encouraging sustainable choices is within the power of marketing professionals. Marketers can encourage sustainable consumption by praising plant-based alternatives and drawing attention to the negative effects of conventional dairy on the environment. Reducing emissions of carbon dioxide equivalent by as much as nine metric tons per person is possible through behavioral changes, according to a UNFCCC report.
The Influence of Working Together
In order to propel growth and discover innovative answers to difficult problems, collaboration is crucial. Reducing demand-side carbon emissions is critical in The Milk Wars, and it requires cooperation between consumers, advertisers, and sustainability-focused brands. A more sustainable food system can be achieved if these stakeholders pool their resources and efforts.
The goal of Adweek X, an unconventional conference format, is to encourage teamwork and reveal new angles in the battle against climate change. With the help of Adweek X, prominent figures in the marketing and advertising industries can come together to discuss how to use advertising to combat climate change.
See first source: Adweek
What is the “Milk Wars”?
The “Milk Wars” refers to the ongoing competition between conventional dairy products and plant-based milk alternatives. It extends beyond market dominance and encompasses the environmental impact of these choices in the context of climate change.
How has the popularity of plant-based milk alternatives changed in recent years?
Sales of plant-based milk alternatives have been on the rise. Between 2019 and 2022, sales of plant-based milk increased by 19%, while sales of animal milk decreased by 4%. Currently, 15% of the market is dedicated to plant-based alternatives.
How is Oatly contributing to the shift towards plant-based milk?
Oatly is a significant player in the plant-based milk movement. The company’s sustainability-focused advertising has been effective in encouraging consumers to choose oat-based alternatives over dairy products. Oatly emphasizes carbon footprint reductions achieved through oat milk consumption, with 471,047 metric tons of CO2 equivalent emissions avoided by the end of 2022.
How is the dairy industry responding to the popularity of plant-based milk alternatives?
The dairy industry is determined to maintain its market share. Industry groups like the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB) and the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) have launched campaigns targeting plant-based alternatives. These initiatives utilize celebrity endorsements and humor to discredit plant-based alternatives and promote traditional dairy products.
What role does advertising play in influencing consumer choices regarding dairy products and plant-based alternatives?
Advertising is a crucial factor in influencing consumer behavior. Marketers have the power to sway consumer decisions and increase demand for eco-friendly products. Sustainability-focused brands and advertisers can help reduce demand-side carbon emissions by endorsing plant-based alternatives and highlighting their benefits.
How did Oatly’s “Ditch Milk” campaign impact the conversation about dairy and the environment?
Oatly’s “Ditch Milk” campaign sparked a conversation about the environmental impact of conventional dairy. It went viral in Sweden, leading to discussions among politicians and media personalities through opinion pieces and talk shows. Ashley Allen, chief sustainability officer of Oatly, believes that instigating conflict and transforming it into a debate or contest is essential for driving real change.
How can marketers go beyond selling products and engage people in conversations about the food system and sustainability?
Marketers can play a role in encouraging sustainable choices by initiating conversations about the food system and highlighting the environmental impact of various food choices, such as conventional dairy. This goes beyond merely selling products and can contribute to meaningful dialogues about sustainability.
What is the most effective way for individuals to reduce their carbon footprint related to food consumption?
According to Project Drawdown, a climate solutions group, the most effective way for individuals to reduce their carbon footprint related to food consumption is to eat less meat and more plant-based foods. This change in dietary habits can significantly lower emissions of carbon dioxide equivalent, with potential reductions of up to nine metric tons per person, according to a UNFCCC report.
Why is collaboration important in addressing demand-side carbon emissions in the context of “The Milk Wars”?
Collaboration is crucial to reduce demand-side carbon emissions effectively. It requires cooperation between consumers, advertisers, and sustainability-focused brands to promote more sustainable food choices. By working together, stakeholders can contribute to a more sustainable food system and combat climate change effectively.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Noah Buscher; Unsplash – Thank you!