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Oatly Disrupts Big Dairy's Capitol Hill Ice Cream Party with Plant-Based Message

World 26.06.2024
Source: The DairyNews
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Big Dairy’s 40th annual Capitol Hill Ice Cream Party in Washington, DC, experienced an unexpected twist this year with the arrival of Oatly, the Swedish oat milk brand.
Oatly Disrupts Big Dairy's Capitol Hill Ice Cream Party with Plant-Based Message
Earlier this month, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) hosted its Capitol Hill Ice Cream Party, a free event for food and agriculture professionals since 1983. However, this year, Oatly made a bold statement by setting up its plant-based soft serve truck, dubbed the “Dairy Deprogramming Zone,” directly across the street from the IDFA event.

Oatly’s initiative aimed to spark a broader conversation about the climate crisis and the dairy lobby’s influence. The bright yellow truck, topped with a large ice cream cone, stood out against the backdrop of the IDFA’s celebration.

The Dairy Deprogramming Zone reflects Oatly’s critical view of the dairy industry’s impact on government policies and public perception. From 2016 to 2022, the Dairy Checkoff program—a national initiative for dairy product promotion, research, and nutrition education—spent $1.6 billion on marketing, shaping public understanding of dairy’s environmental impact and often overshadowing scientific facts advocating for reduced dairy consumption to meet climate goals.

“We showed up on Capitol Hill to expose the decades-long influence by Big Dairy on our government and, in turn, the American people,” said Pearson Croney-Clark, Oatly’s Public Affairs Manager. “The negative impacts of the dairy industry on our climate are significant and can’t be ignored. Science clearly shows that to achieve the greenhouse gas reduction targets set by the Paris Climate Agreement and President Biden’s commitment to the Global Methane Pledge, consumption of industrially produced meat and dairy must decline.”

Oatly highlighted the environmental costs of dairy production on its truck, providing visitors with key information while they waited for their dairy-free treats. For example, producing one gallon of milk in the US requires 144 gallons of water, with more than 93 percent of that water used to grow feed for dairy cattle. In comparison, Oatly’s plant-based milk requires 80-percent less water.

“Moving away from meat and dairy is one of the easiest ways Americans can lower their climate footprints,” Croney-Clark explained. “However, due to the dairy lobby's lack of transparency about the environmental impacts of their products, many people don’t understand the industry’s true role in our climate crisis.”
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