Disrupters

We have a mantra at Switch4Good: Educate the unfamiliar. Reassure the wary. Inspire the progressive.

Our mantra reflects the simple fact that most people are not comfortable with new ideas. The bigger and bolder the idea, the harder it is to persuade people to “cross the chasm” that separates “early adopters” from everybody else.1

This is a common truism with new technology—especially “disruptive” technologies.2 But it also applies to any new idea that asks people to change their behavior, their values, or their daily habits. For instance, their diet.

Switch4Good offers a very disruptive idea. We want everyone to stop consuming dairy. For the sake of their health and overall well-being. To protect our planet and all its inhabitants—including dairy cows. And for the sake of social and racial justice.

There is a cohort of early adopters who understand what we do and are already on board. But they are a small, progressive fraction of the population who already had a predilection towards dairy-free living.

There is a larger group of wary individuals who may be open to our idea, but need a lot of reassurance and support to cross the chasm.

Then there is the much larger majority of people who have been taught from birth that cow’s milk “does a body good.” That huge swath of people—95% of the population–don’t even know what we’re talking about; “What do you mean, dairy is unhealthy and racist?”

Our mantra has one purpose—to remind us that our success at Switch4Good is directly tied to our willingness and ability to disrupt the status quo. To rattle accepted norms around dairy and health. To tear down the current system of dietary racial oppression while promoting solutions for climate change. Our willingness and ability to educate, activate, and celebrate other disruptors who will help us help everyone make the switch for good!

1. Crossing the Chasm: Marketing & Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers.
Geoffrey A. Moore (1991)
2. The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail. Clayton M.
Christensen (1997)

Changing the US Dietary Guidelines

Promoting cow’s milk as “health food” is a form of dietary racism when over 70% of non-white Americans are lactose intolerant. In 2020, the US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee revised the Guidelines as they do every five years. We mounted a petition campaign to get dairy removed; to include non-dairy alternatives; and to provide education about lactose intolerance.

• Soy milk added to Guidelines as nutritionally equivalent to cow’s milk.

• 20,000 public comments in 10 days.

Activists

Actions

• Testified twice before the Dietary Guidelines Committee
• Met 4 times with USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
• Galvanized followers to flood public comments with demands to remove dairy from the Guidelines

Impact

We won. The 2020-2025 US Dietary Guidelines include soy milk as “nutritionally equivalent” to cow’s milk—with this language prominent in the dairy food group.

We made history. We generated 20,000 public comments in just 10 days—27% of the total—demanding dairy’s removal from the Guidelines.

Next steps

This is a significant victory. While dairy is still included as a food group, our united front prompted the USDA to take progressive action. We are working on a campaign to ensure soy milk is available in all public schools. Current federal law does not reflect the Guidelines’ recent inclusion of soy milk as a nutritionally equivalent alternative, and students must provide a doctor’s note to exempt themselves from taking a carton of cow’s milk under the National School Lunch Program. We resolve to change this.

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