In mid-September, I received a press release that caught my eye — but definitely not in a positive way. The release announced the official launch of the Switch4Good anti-dairy coalition.
“Dairy is not health food. It is a marketing campaign, and it is making people sick,” Olympian athlete and Switch4Good founder Dotsie Bausch said in the press release.
Although there certainly is plenty of anti-dairy messaging out there today, the formation of this group — and the extensive anti-dairy content it is putting out via its website (switch4good.org) and members’ social media channels — is particularly disturbing. Why? Because the coalition comprises Olympic and professional athletes, doctors and scientists who could be perceived as credible by a too-trusting audience of consumers.
“I’ve never come across an athlete that drinks milk during a performance, or milk to start a performance,” Malachi Davis, Olympic track and field runner said in the release. “Dairy is a substance that I took away one day, and the next day I could just breathe better.”
The seeds for the coalition were sown back in February, when its initial members teamed up to release a commercial that aired during the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympic Games. In the spot, six former Olympians detailed the benefits associated with the removal of dairy from their diets. According to Switch4Good, the commercial was made in direct response to the Milk Processor Education Program’s (MilkPEP) Milk Life campaign — and MilkPEP’s partnership with the United States Olympic Committee.
“Milk is so intrinsically tied to what athletes need and want — and the reality is, nine out of 10 Team USA athletes grew up drinking milk,” Julia Kadison, CEO of MilkPEP, told Dairy Foods. “It’s our job to make sure those real stories are told — the thousands of athletes and credible experts who rely on milk for much-needed nutrition throughout their journeys. And it’s one of the reasons we forged milk’s one-of-a-kind partnership with Team USA — to continue to support and be part of the hard work and successes along the way.”
She encouraged dairy processors to leverage MilkPEP assets to address the coalition’s anti-dairy messaging in a positive way.
“Whether from MilkPEP or from each individual milk brand, we must continue to share these powerful and authentic messages,” Kadison said. “I encourage every milk brand to consider how you can tell your own milk/athlete story and to visit MilkPEP.org for assets and information to support now and in the months leading up to the 2020 Olympic Games.”
In my view, dairy processors also would be wise to check out “The Truth About Dairy” content on the Switch4Good website. They then could draw upon numerous positive dairy-related research studies to counter these claims — providing consumers with a much more positive picture of the industry.
Celebrating a century of success
Speaking of positives, longevity in terms of company operation also goes a long way toward building consumer trust. And Perry’s Ice Cream is one dairy processor that certainly has longevity on its side: The company is celebrating 100 of years of success this year. We profile the dynamic Akron, N.Y.-based company and its ice cream plant operations in our October issue.
But it’s worth noting that Perry’s is not the only dairy processor marking that milestone birthday. Seattle-based Darigold also turned 100 in 2018. The cooperative said it is celebrating by expanding its commitment to growth in international markets — “accelerating its multigenerational effort to bring the unique goodness of Northwest dairy to the world.”
Dairy Foods extends sincere congratulations to both companies on achieving a century of success!