More than a year has passed since I originally posted about Chocolate Milk Beverage. Since then it’s become one of the most popular posts on this blog! I appreciate all of the comments!
As you can see to your right, they’re not even calling it milk anymore. This begs the new question: What is Chocolate Dairy Beverage?
First, let’s see what Metro and Beatrice had to say…
Response from Metro
True to their word, Metro got back to me within two days. Kudos!
Thank you for your e-mail.
I know there have been some changes to labeling regulations as to what a product is called and what has to be included in the ingredients.
I suggest you contact Parmalat directly at their website “parmalat.ca” or call 1-800-263-2858 for more information.
Customer Care Specialist
Metro Ontario Inc.
I appreciate Metro’s timely and personal response. Judy actually read my e-mail and wrote a reply in her own words that was useful and appropriate, given Metro’s position as the retailer.
Based on Judy’s response, my initial assumption is that Health Canada’s website wasn’t quite up-to-date last November. More on that in a bit, but first, lets see what Parmalat had to say.
Response from Parmalat (Beatrice)
Unlike Metro, it took Parmalat three months to formulate this canned reply. Not only that, but the central section of the e-mail was in a different font from the header and footer – I have indicated this section in bold. Content is king but the formatting is simply another indicator of how little effort they put into this response.
This is to acknowledge receipt of your recent e-mail to Parmalat Canada.
Thank you for your recent enquiry on our Chocolate Milk Beverage product. Parmalat and Beatrice have been providing Canadian families with the wholesome benefits and great taste of milk for generations. Proudly made with milk from Canadian dairy farms, our products are great tasting and nutritious.
Chocolate Milk and Chocolate Milk Beverages are both standard dairy products under the Milk Act. The primary ingredient in both products is milk.
Chocolate Milk Beverage is a good nutritional choice as it is:
Low in Fat
Excellent Source of Calcium
Excellent Source of Vitamin D
A Source of Vitamin A
Beatrice and Parmalat also offer a variety of other value added Chocolate Milk Products, such as Smart Growth 2% Chocolate milk with DHA, and Omega-3 1% Chocolate milk as other options for consumers who are looking for chocolate milk products with additional functional ingredients.
We appreciate your input and will provide your comments to our product development team for consideration in future developments.
Thank you for your loyalty and for taking the time to write to us.
Wow, thanks Parmalat. This sounds more like advertising copy than an e-mail response. I asked several pointed questions; your lengthy reply has not answered any of them.
Interestingly, the Beatrice website nolonger lists Chocolate Milk or any of its relations on their product page. Why not? Buttermilk, Egg Nog, Banana Milk and Strawberry Milk are all apparently worthy of mention? Banana and Strawberry milk are not even sold in all provinces, Egg Nog is only available at Christmas time and Buttermilk is for pancakes, not for drinking. Chocolate is available all year round. You wouldn’t be trying to hide your chocolate flavoured dairy concoction, would you?
Dairy Farmers of Canada
Since Beatrice was no help at all, I decided to write the Dairy Farmers of Canada on November 18th to see if they could help. A few months ago they changed their blue cow logo to include the text “100% Canadian Milk” and was curious to see what they had to say about dairy beverages.
Hello Dairy Farmers of Canada,
I have noticed over the past year the appearance and prevalence of products labelled as Chocolate Milk Beverage or Chocolate Dairy Beverage, in place of real Chocolate Milk. I have been trying to figure out what exactly a ‘dairy beverage’ is and was wondering if you could shed some light on that?
Would you mind sending me some information on your 100% Canadian Milk programme? How do ‘dairy beverages’ align the goals of that programme?
Anyone care to guess what they’ll say? They’re basically a lobby group, so they don’t want to piss off their dairies, however, they want to sell REAL milk. There’s a bit on their website about frozen desserts being substituted for real ice cream. We’ll see, I guess…
What are we drinking??
Packaging copy: “Made with partly skimmed milk (fortified with vitamins A and D) and added dairy ingredients.” Unlike real partly skimmed milks as defined by Canada’s food and drug regulations, the packaging of Beatrice’s dairy beverage does not overtly indicate the milk fat content. To the average consumer, the packaging looks nearly identical to Beatrice’s old Chocolate Milk and Chocolate Milk Beverage products.
For the record, Beatrice Chocolate Dairy Beverage contains thirteen ingredients, fifteen if you count the mandatory vitamins:
- partly skimmed milk (vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D3)
- modified milk ingredients
- reconstituted skim milk powder
- dipotassium phosphate
- modified corn starch
- cellulose gum
- guar gum
- artificial flavour
There are five ingredients that I actually understand, which I have highlighted in grey. Several of the ‘questionable’ ones would seem to be thickening agents: modified corn starch, carrageenan, cellulose gum and guar gum. What are modified milk ingredients, anyway? A quick Google search comes up with all sorts of interesting stuff. CBC’s Marketplace summed it up well:
That name can mean just about any product that was initally part of milk, especially including the following:
- skim milk powder
- milk protein concentrates
- milk protein isolates
As pointed out in a comment on the previous post, Parmalat’s own Protelac products are sold to the food industry as ‘milk replacers.’ Their frightening marketing copy identifies the true goal: cost savings.
Each Prestige and Protelac milk replacer is an all-natural, advanced technology ingredient specifically designed to replace the functionality and taste of milk solids in your formulation while generating substantial cost savings verses skim milk (non fat dry milk).
There’s much more to cover in the exciting world of chocolate dairy beverages masquerading as chocolate milk… In a subsequent post, I’d like to review what real chocolate milk options are left to us, beyond the dairy beverage offerings of Parmalat, et al.
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