All you need to know about the PETA India & Amul row over dairy-vegan milk debate

Amul Peta India

In what can be simply put as ‘dairy v/s vegan milk’ debate, Amul’s RS Sodhi responded to PETA India’s suggestion of switching to vegan milk production, escalating the row that came under limelight post Amul’s myth-busting print ad.

It all started when Amul rolled out a myth-busting print campaign stating why plant-based milk cannot be termed as ‘milk’ in March 2021. Post which PETA India advised the dairy major to switch to ‘plant-based milk alternatives. The organization along with Beauty Without Cruelty (BWC) and Sharan India moved to the Advertising Council of India (ASCI) filing a plea against the claims made by Amul. However, ASCI dismissed the three complaints which indicated that Amul’s stand on ‘milk’ is vindicated.

The Amul myth-busting print campaign lists a set of pros about dairy-based milk ranging from its nutritional value as compared to the plant-based alternatives or vegan milk to economic benefits and ethical regulations. According to the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) that produced Amul Milk, the campaign’s objective was to unravel the falsity behind myths that were being circulated regarding –“MILK’ and make people aware of the actual facts.

The campaign further drew attention towards new regulations set by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in 2017, preventing the use of the word ‘milk’ on the packages or labels of non-dairy and plant-based dairy products. The dairy major has also requested FSSAI to enforce and implement the proposed regulations. The ad was touted to be ‘offensive’ against non-dairy beverages.

As a response, in a letter to the dairy corporation, PETA India asked Amul to derive “benefit from the booming vegan food and milk market” and to stop “wasting resources to fight the demand for plant-based products”. 

After ASCI’s decision to dismiss the plea, RS Sodhi, MD at GCMMF took to Twitter countering PETA’s argument and asked, will the non-dairy substitutes or ‘vegan milk’ production will give livelihood to 100 million dairy farmers and how many can afford expensive lab manufactured factory food made out of chemicals and synthetic vitamins. He also alleged that plant-based food companies are encashing on the equity of milk.

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Sodhi further asserted that PETA aims to market genetically modified Soya of rich MNC at exorbitant prices, which the average lower middle class can’t afford.

On the other hand, Twiteratti was quick to condemn PETA’s alleged ‘illogical’ suggestion to Amul and called out the organization for spreading no facts. PETA, in a response to the backlash, stated that the organization’s intentions were to just inform Amul of the current trends of vegan consumption and encourage the cooperative to make intelligent business choices.

Even after ASCI’s decision to dismiss the complaints against Amul’s ad campaign, the debate over ‘vegan vs dairy milk’ seems far from evanescing.