Dairy Drink — all sizzle, no steak

Leave it to the “food” industry to sally forth with something even more questionable than homo pasteurized to cannibalize market share from already beleagered American dairy farmers, most of whom have been shipping fluid milk below their cost of production for more than a year now. We’ll start off with excerpts from the story and comments published recently on Boing Boing under the title “WTF is ‘Dairy Drink’“:

Aint that America?

Ain't that America?* Photo via Boing Boing blog.

Greg Morgan says: “My friend took this picture at an HEB in Austin. WTF is Dairy Drink?”

Reader comments:

TJS: “Googled “dairy drink HEB”, and Yahoo! Answers provided this: “It is skim milk with added sugar and water. It is pretty good on cereal, but if you’re concerned about sugar and health benefits of getting the same amount of calcium and etc as you’d find in milk, you might want to rethink it. It is not as good as milk if you’re diabetic or watching your sugars. It is about half the price of milk though. No, it is not a soy product. When in doubt, pick it up and read the ingredients to see what it has or doesn’t have. Source(s): My source is myself. I bought some of it myself this week. My teenagers like it on cereal and I like it in coffee, but it’s not good for cooking something salty.” So, it looks like it’s watered down milk with sugar added, with the apparent benefit being lower price than milk. Not something I would buy.

Anonymous: “This is slightly sketchy research, but the label’s “bebidas lactea” pulls up a wikipedia article in Portugese that, when Babelfished, essentially says it’s a drink composed of 51% milk and 49% “milk serum,” or whey – milk with the casein proteins and fats removed. “Less nutritional than yogurt and less dense.”

Stefan Jones: “I really hate this kind of product. Healthy-sounding cheap fakes are so . . . well, the kind of thing you’d find in a Pohl & Kornbluth novel, that indicates that things have started to slide. Like a Cadillac you have to pedal, or chicken meat grown in a vat. I don’t want to live in a Pohl & Kornbluth novel.”

retchdog: “Dairy drink is gross; fruit “punch” (“contains 5% juice!”) is revolting. But I think vat-grown chicken would be great and probably sell well after initial skepticism. Just contrast the dire prediction of a future of unwashed masses eating soy food, with today’s premium-priced ersatz soy-and-binder chicken nuggets.”

Dv Revolutionary: “I once asked someone to pick up chocolate milk for my daughter. They came back from Food Lion with a gallon of “chocolate drink”. It was mostly corn sirup, water and chocolate. No dairy at all. Disgusting. Never let my daughter have a drop.

The stuff is still sold from food lion. It’s there on the shelves waiting to destroy the health of some kid with less discerning parents.”

Read it all on Boing Boing

In other news: Coca-Cola tests market with Dairy Drink, from china.org.cn, Oct 13, 2009. An excerpt:

“Coca-Cola Company yesterday launched its first dairy drink in China as it embarked on a major expansion in the still beverage market as the population increasingly become more health conscious.

The domestically made Minute Maid Pulpy Super Milky drink, a mixture of fruit juice, milk powder and coconut bits, will be sold in 300 cities across China by the end of this year, said Douglas A. Jackson, president of Coca-Cola China.

The launch of the new product marks Coke’s maiden entry into China’s dairy drink segment and also underscores its efforts to continuously explore the non-sparkling beverage market after a proposed deal to acquire China’s biggest juice maker, Huiyuan Juice Group Ltd, was blocked early this year.

“China is the world’s No. 3 market for Coca-Cola,” said Andres Kiger, senior marketing director of Coca-Cola China. “The fascinating thing in China is the huge amount of growth in many categories. We are trying to broaden (our) product portfolio, listen to consumers and develop products associated to their needs.”

Coca-Cola said about 6.2 million liters of dairy drinks were consumed last year, citing data from Canadean, a beverage research company….”

Coca-cola tried a similar product in the states back in 2003. Here’s an excerpt from a story that year titled “New Dairy Drink Targets Teens”:

NEW YORK — Got blue milk? Soft drink companies hope to reply yes to this question in a big way. After finding new growth in water and juices, the soft-drink giants are applying their marketing muscle to a big beverage category they’ve long overlooked: milk. Coca-Cola Co., Cadbury Schweppes PLC and othersare moving in with new drinks that scarcely resemble the stuff the milkman used to bring.

Next month, Coke, Atlanta, plans to roll out blueberry, chocolate and vanilla-banana flavors of Swerve, a milk-based drink. Raging Cow, launched by Cadbury in March, comes in five flavors, including Pina Colada Chaos and Jamocha Frenzy. Other drink makers are promoting milkshakes and even carbonated milk, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The soft-drink companies hope to use milk’s wholesome qualities to buff their image and build sales, particularly in schools, where they have been criticized heavily for pushing sodas – and for contributing to the sharp rise in childhood obesity….”

Here’s a description of one of Coke’s former Dairy Drink products, “Swerve” from an Indian website: “Swerve, by the Coca-Cola Company, was a flavored and vitamin-fortified dairy drink introduced in 2003. It contained 51% skim milk, was sweetened by a blend of sugar and sucralose, and provided 30% of the Recommended Daily Allowance of Vitamins A, C & D and Calcium. It was originally available in three flavors: a vanilla-banana flavor called Vanana, a blueberry-strawberry flavor called Blooo, and a Chocolate Drink flavor. It was most often found in school cafeterias.

Truth in advertising -- a caricature of a cow on a product thats a caricature of milk!

Truth in advertising -- a caricature of a cow on a product that's a caricature of milk!

The drink carried the American Heart Association’s “Heart Smart” seal, for meeting “food criteria for saturated fat and cholesterol for healthy people over age 2.” It also carried the dairy industry’s “Real Seal” because it had 51% real milk by weight (51% is the minimum requirement for obtaining the seal).

But others pointed out that water and sweeteners made up much of the other 49% of the drink, and that the calorie content was such that an 11 oz (325 ml) can of Swerve Chocolate Drink contained 160 calories, contrasted with the 140 calories found in a 12 oz can (355 ml) of Coca-Cola Classic….”

Swerve was discontinued in 2005. Read the whole story here.

*Today’s soundtrack — John Cougar Mellencamp’s song “Little Pink Houses/Aint that America”, as referred to in the caption of the lead photo:

1 Comment

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One response to “Dairy Drink — all sizzle, no steak

  1. “WTF” is wrong with “Society”


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