Why Aldi's Oat Milk Supposedly Changed, According To Reddit

It's a great time to be a fan of plant-based milk alternatives. The market is growing quickly and there will only be more options and innovations as the years go on. In 2020, "milk alternatives" were the highest selling product in the plant-based food market in the U.S., generating between $2.5 billion and $3 billion in sales (via MFAT). Almond and oat milk are the most commonly enjoyed varieties, but seeds and vegetables can also be used to make non-dairy milk alternatives. A Swedish company called DUG introduced a milk alternative made with one of the "world's most sustainable foods," the humble potato.

As you can imagine, the dairy industry isn't too thrilled about all these new and exciting products sharing a shelf with cow's milk. It has put pressure on the FDA over the past 20 or so years to stop plant-based alternatives from being called "milk" because non-dairy alternatives do not have the same nutritional value or flavor (via Vox). Their efforts have not been rewarded yet, as the FDA has yet to issue its final verdict (via Plant Based Foods Association). But some social media users might argue that Aldi changed the branding on its oat milk before an official decision is made.

Some Redditors blame the dairy industry and their gatekeeping of the word 'milk'

One Aldi shopper was intrigued by the rebranding of Aldi's popular oat milk and turned to Reddit for answers. User @heydiliz posted a photo on the r/aldi thread of two Friendly Farms oat milk cartons in their fridge (pictured above) with the caption "Oatmilk got a new look..." Not only did Aldi change the color of the carton, but the name was changed from "Oatmilk" to just "Oat." "The dairy industry lobbying against other non-milk beverages to take way the word 'Milk' out of their product name," commented one user. While this is just a speculation on Reddit, it would make sense with all of the dairy drama going on. On the budget-friendly grocery store's website, the coconut and almond milk alternatives also do not have "milk" prominently featured on the label, just in the description.

"I feel like the dairy industry should have to use 'cow' in their marketing," replied another Redditor. "But wait, that might turn people off." The dairy industry does seem to be fighting a battle that they are already losing, with Americans drinking around half as much milk per day by 2008 as they did in the 1970s (via USDA). We will likely find out if their gatekeeping efforts were worth it by the end of June this year, according to the Plant Based Foods Association.