As I was going through the fliers the other day and saw something I'd never noticed before:
and wondered what it was. Chocolate milk is dead apparently. It's being replaced with this stuff made from reconstituted milk byproducts. Not that I drank it anyway.
Milk or dairy beverage? crowding grocery shelves
'Chocolate dairy beverage' is just one of several imitation milk products now
January 05, 2010
The Hamilton Spectator
(Jan 5, 2010)
Bill Mitchell knows his milk.
As a spokesperson for Dairy Farmers of Ontario, milk is his business.
So when he asks for chocolate milk at an eatery, that's what he expects to get.
But this summer, he ordered a chocolate milk with his meal, took one sip and knew something was off.
The carton label read Chocolate Dairy Beverage.
Huh? What's a chocolate dairy beverage and what's become of chocolate milk?
"It's a completely different product with different standards," said Mitchell. "Consumers should know what they're buying."
According to Canada's Food and Drug Regulations, chocolate milk is made with milk or milk ingredients, a sweetener and a flavouring preparation.
A chocolate dairy beverage, however, has modified milk ingredients. This means it's made from a variety of milk components, such as fat globules, said Lesia Hucal, a Hamilton public health dietitian.
"It's like building a chocolate milk product out of used milk parts, like building a car out of used car parts. That's exactly what this dairy beverage is," she said.
"It is milk but what we've done is reconstituted the milk out of a whole bunch of milk products in order to build it into a kind of chocolate milk."
The Hamilton Spectator purchased two cartons for comparison -- Neilson's chocolate milk and Beatrice's chocolate dairy beverage.
A milk connoisseur such as Mitchell may taste the difference easily but three informal taste testers in the newsroom couldn't.
Nutritionally, milk wins.
According to the nutrition facts, the chocolate milk had nine grams of protein per cup whereas the dairy beverage had only six.
The real milk also had more vitamin A, vitamin D and calcium per cup than the dairy beverage.
Neilson's chocolate milk also had 10 extra calories a cup and fewer ingredients -- eight versus 13.
So, why would companies switch from selling milk to selling dairy beverages layered with reconstituted and modified milk ingredients?
"It's all about money," said Hucal, pointing out milk is more expensive to store and transport than milk ingredients, such as skim milk powder, which doesn't need refrigeration.
"It's still a good thing but we can't call it milk."
The labelling change has been around since at least 2008. E-mail requests for comment made in November and December to Beatrice went unanswered.
Mitchell, who has fielded calls from people confused about the labelling, wants clarity for consumers.
"Products should be labelled in such a way and marketed in such a way that people don't get confused."
Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, medical director of the Bariatric Medical Institute in Ottawa, doesn't think chocolate milk or chocolate dairy beverage are healthy choices.
He calls chocolate milk a liquid chocolate bar. Still, he describes the name change as "creepy."
"It sounds like the difference between juice (made from fruit) and drink (made from sugared water). I don't know what that means when they change the terminology."
Chocolate dairy beverage is just one of several imitation milk products now crowding grocery shelves.
Ice cream, made with milk fat, competes with frozen dessert, a cheaper alternative made from vegetable oils. Table cream is next to the nondairy coffee whiteners, made primarily of water, sugar and oil.
One blogger recently noted Sealtest had changed the label for its portable milk and cream sachets. The labels read "dairy creamer" and "dairy milker."
"I have no idea what milker and creamer are, but it doesn't sound good."
BEATRICE'S CHOCOLATE DAIRY BEVERAGE
1. Partly skimmed milk (vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D3)
2. modified milk ingredients
4. reconstituted skim milk powder
6. dipotassium phosphate
7. modified corn starch
11. cellulose gum
12. guar gum
13. artificial flavour
NEILSON'S CHOCOLATE MILK
1. Partly skimmed milk,
6. may contain modified corn starch
7. artificial flavour
(vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D3)
Source: TheSpec.com - healthfitness - Milk or dairy beverage? crowding grocery shelves