Agriculture Must Stand Together and Support Consumer Choice
With the recent California rains, many will forget the challenges of the historic drought. Almond growers will never forget the negative publicity on the water use of our industry. We responded by consistently sharing the facts, like almonds represent 13% of California agricultural acreage and only 9% of the irrigated water use. The almond industry resisted the easy route of pointing the finger at our friends in agriculture. Our rationale was that agriculture has too few allies and divided we surely would fall to special interests that do not recognize the challenges and importance of American farmers.
During the last month, you may have heard news about the dairy industry asking the FDA to limit the definition of “milk” to cow’s milk and requesting plant-based milks to stop using the term to describe their products. In a free market society, you cannot legislate consumers to use your product. I am proud to say that Blue Diamond has always supported consumer choice and innovation.
We’ve also seen disparaging and misleading advertisements specifically targeting almond milk. That the source of the advertising, Milkpep, is funded by a USDA assessment on dairy processors is even more concerning. A little research shows this group has targeted juice and eggs in the past. Based on their experience, the dairy industry should know that negative advertising really does nothing to encourage consumption of your product. We have learned that great marketing and innovation is the answer. You must do the hard work to understand your consumer, develop great products and communicate your brand benefits in relevant and inspiring ways.
A number of articles have been published with industry experts supporting consumer choice. I encourage you to read the article, “Government Must Stop Protecting Cow Milk Producers from Competition” for a more in-depth look at the situation. We will continue to monitor closely and respond accordingly if needed.