Misleading to call soya, almond beverages ‘milk’, says Parag Foods

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on January 23, 2018 Published on August 17, 2017

“Only milk obtained from milch animals can be called milk. Soya/badam drinks can only be called as substitute of milk or alternative to milk, but they cannot be termed as milk”

Dairy company Parag Milk Foods has raised concerns on plant-based soy or almond-based beverage makers classifying their product as milk.

Devendra Shah, Chairman, Parag Milk Foods, said: “According to the regulations, only milk obtained from milch animals can be defined as milk”. He added that as per the regulations, even toned milk or full-cream milk should be made out of milk or milk products obtained exclusively from animal-sourced milk and should not contain any other substances.

“One can’t promote soy and almond milk, the same as milk , in contravention of the provisions of food safety law. Therefore, the association of the word ‘milk’ with soya or almond beverages is quite misleading and should not be permitted to be sold as soya or almond Milk,” he added.

In a letter to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, the company has said that under the FSS Act and Regulations, beverages having vegetable plant origin and having milky appearance sourced from soyabean and almond cannot be termed as milk.

“Manufacturing and selling of soya/badam beverage as soya/badam milk is misleading. These drinks can only be called as substitute of milk or alternative to milk, but they cannot be termed as milk as per Food Safety and Standards ( Food products and Food Additives) Regulations 2011,” the letter stated.

Non-milk alternatives

According to Euromonitor, non-dairy milk alternatives in India are still in the nascent stage and have pegged the retail value sales of soy milk currently at about ₹106 crore. The category is expected to grow at 15.7 per cent CAGR in the country in 2017-2022 period, it said.

This concern comes at a time when a similar debate has been raised in more developed markets of Soy Milk such as the United States. According to media reports, traditional dairy companies and makers of plant-based alternatives are locked in a battle over labelling norms of plant-based alternatives in the US since the beginning of this year.

Ashwin Bhadri, CEO, Equinox Labs, said: “ For more clarity for consumers, additional disclaimer such as “non-dairy milk” can be put on the labels of such products. It becomes a bigger concern, if someone is marketing flavoured milk as almond milk or soy milk.”

Published on August 17, 2017
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