Speaking at the 2014 Semex Dairy Conference in Glasgow earlier this week, First Milk CEO, Kate Allum, criticized the new ‘Smart Swaps’ campaign running on the UK Department of Health-funded Change for Life website.
The online campaign suggests a choice of six swaps to make a “healthy change to your life” – four of which “spotlight milk, butter, and cheese,” said Allum. It recommends exchanging whole milk for semi-skimmed milk, semi-skimmed milk for skimmed milk, cheese for reduced-fat cheese, and butter for low-fat butter or spreads.
“So that means that 66% of the campaign is negatively focused on dairy,” said Allum.
“Now, you might think that the campaign would look at biscuits…But there is no mention of biscuits.”
“What about pies or sausage rolls? Within a 100g portion of a sausage roll there is 25g of fat and that is a quarter of your daily intake. But there is no mention of pies or sausage rolls," she said.
Recommendation daily consumption
Allum asked why the UK Department of Health does not consider dairy to be a “gold standard nutritional food” like “health departments across the globe.”
“In the United States and Australia, doctors and paediatricians actively warn against the problems associated with not getting enough dairy in their diet,” she said. “Canada, New Zealand, France, the Netherlands, and Ireland, all actively promote consuming three portions of dairy a day.”
“China, Malaysia, Singapore, Brazil, and South America all recommend daily dairy consumption.”
“So you’d expect the UK government to similarly be promoting dairy would you not?” she said.
"Gold standard accolade"
Continuing, Allum said that the entire dairy industry needs to get "on the front foot" and actively promote the nutritional benefits of dairy.
By comparing dairy with other healthy products, “it allows you to understand the incredible amount of nutritional benefit that is packed into a food worthy of that gold standard accolade," she said.
Using First Milk’s recently launched Lake District Dairy Company Quark as an example Allum said that it would be possible to get the same amount of protein “from downing nearly three litres of coconut milk.”
“Instead of drinking a bottle of Lake District Dairy Company Frumoo, you could get the same calcium from eating 25 tablespoons of red kidney beans, which may cause some issues with your digestive system,” she said.
“Or if you are feeling like Popeye, a kilo of spinach.”
"As an industry, we don't tell the wonder food story well enough, we don't tell it clearly enough," she said.