VEGA News Item

It’s Here and Now – Soya Undercuts Cow Milks - 07/08/2009

It’s really true: cartons of UHT soya milks are selling in some supermarkets at less than comparable cow-milks in the same stores. 

1. Soya milks are also available by on-line ordering through Asda and Sainsbury; we’ve checked this twice - today.  After all these years of trying to lift dairy-frees out of the ruts and niches of vegetarian, vegan, and vegetalian markets, plant-milks are becoming highly competitive commodity products, competitive among themselves and in taking on dairy/beef/veal farming and all the harm and subsidies it has attracted, while frustrating the principles VEGA has furthered for 50 years or more and now generally encouraged in earnests exemplifying general official advice on many aspects of food security to cut down on the M n’ D – meat and dairy.

2. ASDA’s Smart Price and Tesco’s Value unsweetened soya alternative to milk, “new”, and “can help lower blood cholesterol,” are almost the same, and they make other pertinent claims as sources of calcium and vitamin D “for healthy bones.”  Their protein content at 3.3% establishes their suitability as a replacement for animal milks in ordinary diets, an attribute reinforced by a tally of fortifying ingredients: vitamins D and E and vitamins B2 (riboflavin) and B12, and the mineral calcium.  In terms of the FSA’s profiling they stand out well.  We’ll have to ask some more questions – or customers can do this for themselves by seeking info from the Consumer Affairs Departments and websites.  We need assurances about a “natural flavouring” common to both products and is the vitamin D2 or D3 and does the gellan gum contain iodine and is the salt iodized?  Let us know if you elicit more: strengthen our combined consumer power and impress manufacturers and retailers.

3. Watch frequently for changes in the lively dairy-free market and the commercial consequences, which should display evidence of incorporations of organic products, recyclable packaging, and new products.  Poundland shops are beginning to sell food items, some of them “junk.”  Perhaps in the present connection could they lever in a “health” 2-for-the-price-1 pack (at the usual £1) or a quart-in-a-bag offering at £1 of unsweetened soya milk.

4. And we can begin to look forward to the day when roles are reversed: it will be the omnivore who has to ask for his special milk for his tea and breakfast cereal and us who will be stimulating the R and D for the appropriate changes in agriculture and food technology, motivated by the interests of the cow and her calf and humans for food that is meat-free, dairy-free, and cruelty-free.



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