Oatley tells Big Dairy to put its money where climate claims are

During Earth Month, Big Dairy released its Wood Milk campaign with Aubrey Plaza. In case you’re not familiar, the campaign features Plaza as the founder of a fake company that uses tree milk to make poly wood milk. The point was that only dairy milk is “real” milk.

The campaign—which generated quite a response—also included a tree-planting initiative in support of the nonprofit One Tree Planted, which some have called greenwashing due to the dairy industry’s high carbon footprint.

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This month, Swedish company Oatly is taking big dairy to task about that footprint with a new campaign. Vegan companies take out full page ads The The New York Times, Los Angeles TimesAnd The Washington Postand bought two adjacent billboards in Times Square and Hollywood Blvd.

On one side of each, Oatly declares the climate footprint of its original oat milk (0.62 kg CO2e (kilogram carbon dioxide equivalent)/kg). The other end? Oatley said it is donating the space to any dairy competitor that wants to post its climate footprint for comparison.

Effect of Climate on Dairying

Oatly’s campaign was created to draw attention to its new labeling practice, which it launched in January with its Oatgurt—making it the first company in North America to display the climate impact of its products on its packaging.

“Consumer choice plays an integral role in shaping our food system,” Oatly North America executive creative director Armando Turco told VegNews. “Earlier this year, Oatly began rolling out product climate footprints in North America to empower consumer decision-making in the grocery aisle.”


Reformulated Oatgurt’s emissions range between 1.7 and 1.9 CO2e/kg depending on flavor and Oatly reaches this number through a farmer-to-grocer life cycle assessment method validated by climate change agency CarbonCloud.

These CO2e calculations take into account the effects of various greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Using this method, Oatley calculated climate footprints for an additional 12 products distributed in North America.


Because there is no standard way to disclose carbon impact or mandate to do so, Oatly has led competitors from the dairy industry to disclosing their footprint to inform consumers of the climate impact of their food choices.

“It’s hard to understand what these numbers mean in isolation, and we understand that this initiative will only work if other organizations, including the dairy industry, follow suit,” Turco said.

“Ultimately, this campaign is focused on advocating for greater transparency around the information that consumers are increasingly seeking to encourage a more sustainable food industry,” Turco said.

How can Big Dairy cash in on Oatley’s promise of free advertising? Oatly points to an app where it can follow “72 easy steps” or submit the same assessment (68 questions and 4 short essays) to determine its own product climate footprint.

Otley Poll: Youngsters think cow’s milk is ‘fundamental’

Dairy milk consumption has been circling the drain for decades and its campaigns, including Wood Milk, have tried to make dairy milk relevant among the younger generation. Anyone buying it? Oatly did a flash poll to find out.

Oatly partnered with Researchscape International to conduct a rapid representative survey of 1,178 US-based teens and 14-year-old adults that matched the US population by nine demographics.

The survey found that more than one-third (33 percent) have replaced cow’s milk with a plant-based alternative on their grocery list; About one-quarter (22 percent) describe cow’s milk as “basic” or “cold”; And a third (33 percent) would never drink cow’s milk to date.


Overall, 40 percent prefer plant-based milk over cow’s milk, with 22 percent indicating they drink the former more often.

Drilling down into data on Gen Z and millennial respondents, Oatley found that preferences for plant-based milk in all of these situations showed that nearly a quarter (26 percent) said they usually or always request plant-based milk at coffee shops.

“Trend data from Oatly’s Flash Poll shows a growing preference for plant-based milk among consumers, with Gen Z and a significant portion of millennials leading the trend,” Turco said.

Oatly’s poll is supported by recent consumer research and purchase data that points to similar conclusions. And some companies are leaning their plant-based offerings to appeal to younger demographics.

Earlier this year, Danone-owned Silk unveiled a new campaign for its Next Milk vegan line featuring the celebrity babies who used the popular “Got Milk?” It appeared. campaign as a commentary on how the younger generation has moved on from dairy milk.

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