Home Industry News Dairy Legislation Plant-Based = Higher Cost, Lower Quality. Tell That to Your Barista

Plant-Based = Higher Cost, Lower Quality. Tell That to Your Barista

Vegan activists like to hand-wring from time to time about surcharges to add their favorite plant-based beverage to their coffee drinks, citing all sorts of reasons behind the alleged injustice. Here’s a simpler explanation: Plant-based additives cost more because … they cost more.

Higher costs and lower quality are hallmarks of the “innovation” behind the proliferation of non-dairy products that trade on dairy terms in an attempt to win consumer favor. The lower nutritional content of plant-based beverages is well-established, with some almond brands having one-eighth the protein of dairy and none of them having the unique blend of 13 essential nutrients that set dairy apart. But here’s a quick refresher on the cost side of the equation:

This is year-end data of the cost of a gallon of milk (all varieties) compared to alternatives, year-end 2021. Now you can see why marketers are so enthusiastic about selling highly processed oat water.

Here’s a comparison for yogurt. Not a surprise, when you look at the ingredients label of a pint of yogurt versus a plant-based alternative.

And here’s the one product in which dairy doesn’t win on price, though an asterisk should be involved. Admittedly, a pound of “Imitation Cheese” is more pocketbook-friendly than true, FDA-standard-of-identity compliant cheese – a fact that undoubtedly delights “cheese-type product” lovers everywhere.

But it’s worth noting that even imitation cheese usually contains some dairy – just not in a way that meets cheese standards of identity. Vegan varieties, on the other hand, don’t just function terribly – they cost more than twice as much as real cheese and almost four times as much as the cheaper imitations.

Why does this matter? Because in their long-running efforts to disparage dairy, opponents sometimes use bad-faith arguments to call out companies that are acting rationally when what they really need to do is a little math. Complicated and often expensive ingredients, far-flung supply chains, and high advertising costs all feed into the more-expensive structure of plant-based alternatives (and let’s not even get into profit margins).

The point is, if you’re ever in line for a latte and someone in front of you complains about paying more for an almond addition, you can always point out that their choice may cost more money because … it costs more money. Then, add some whole milk to your beverage, for emphasis. It will bring a smile to your day – and information to someone else’s.

The National Milk Producers Federation, based in Arlington, VA, develops and carries out policies that advance dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. NMPF’s member cooperatives produce more than two-thirds of U.S. milk, making NMPF dairy’s voice on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. For more, visit www.nmpf.org.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.