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June 2024
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Bilked by Silk?

Re-Branding of Popular Soy Milk Leaves Organic-Conscious Consumers Miffed

Organic grocery shoppers accuse Silk of pulling the wool over their eyes by surreptitiously switching from "organic" to "natural."

Organic grocery shoppers accuse Silk of pulling the wool over their eyes by surreptitiously switching from "organic" to "natural."

As someone that avoids dairy, my milk musings tend to be about one of two things:  almond milk or soy milk.  Both have their nutritional benefits, and both have a great, smooth taste I enjoy.  But after a recent report appearing in the pages of the Dallas Star-Telegram, I can’t help but wonder:  Was I the victim of a Silk bilk?

For the past year, thousands of Silk fans have been drinking from that familiar Silk blue carton, thinking that nothing’s changed.  But boy, how things have changed.  Because if you actually take a look at the labeling on those cartons, it no longer says “Organic.”  It now says “Natural.”

This re-labeling is what has so many fans of Silk—or former fans of Silk—up in arms.  Because as many of you know, “natural” is not the same thing as “organic.”  It’s sad to say, but “natural” has become so broadly defined, virtually anything can be labeled as being “natural” (remember the “Natural” bottles of 7-UP?).  So long as it doesn’t contain artificial ingredients, the natural label can be plastered on to just about any box, carton, bottle, or jug, as there are no hardened-fast guidelines as to what does and does not qualify as being “natural.”  For example, contrary to popular belief, it’s perfectly fine to label a product “natural” even though it’s been sprayed with chemical fertilizers or chemical pesticides.  A much stricter standard is applied to the organic seal, which comes under federal guidelines.

Now, in Dean Food’s defense—the company that markets and produces the Silk line of milk—they do have an organic option.  Their new organic Silk product comes in a green carton and is indeed certified organic.  In an email sent to the Star-Telegram, they apologize to their consumers for the confusion the switch may have caused, but defend the switch by saying that “offering both natural and organic products is the right thing to do for our customers.”

But the “rightness” of their decision is marred by the fact that there was no significant price change when going from the organic to the all-natural variety.  And there ought to have been, because according to The Organic & Non-GMO Report, Dean cut their costs in half by going to natural soybeans (non-genetically modified) over organic soybeans ($11 per bushel versus $19 per bushel).

Dean Food’s clearly didn’t break any laws by instituting these changes, but their re-branding without anyone noticing certainly has all the hallmarks of a “bait-and-switch,” as former fans of Silk are calling it.

What do you think?  Was Silk in the wrong?  Will you continue drinking Silk, or is this an egregious enough action to swear off Silk?  Then again, perhaps you think the difference between “natural” and “organic” is negligible?


Related Posts

  1. Starbucks Campaign to Remove Artificial Hormone rBGH from Its Dairy Products Begins…
  2. Exposing the Truth about Milk
  3. UK Government’s New Labeling Law Would Allow Food Companies To “Cash In” on The Organic Label
  4. Retail Giant Under Investigation Over Allegedly Deceiving Organic Claims…

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