arrow-left arrow-right caret-down check chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right close external facebook home images instagram linkedin marker menu minus page pinterest plus scroll search twitter youtube Skip to content

REAL® Dairy vs. Imitators

REAL® Dairy Makes All The Difference

When it comes to the competition, REAL® dairy outshines imitation products across the board. Take a closer look below to see the REAL® dairy difference.

Superior Nutrition

REAL® dairy is packed with nutrients that every person needs. Dairy alternatives often rely on calcium fortifications and other synthetic nutrients just to come close to milk’s unique package of protein, vitamins and essential minerals, like phosphorus. And most of the time, these imitation products still fall short.

Here’s how REAL® milk nutrition facts compare to those of imitator beverages.


REAL® Milk

  • 8g Protein
  • 30% DV Calcium
  • 32% DV Vitamin D
  • 23% DV Phosphorus

Rice Beverage

  • .5g Protein
  • 26% DV Calcium
  • 21% DV Vitamin D
  • 15% DV Phosphorus

Almond Beverage

  • 1g Protein
  • 30% DV Calcium
  • 25% DV Vitamin D
  • 4% DV Phosphorus

Soy Beverage

  • 6g Protein
  • 26% DV Calcium
  • 29% DV Vitamin D
  • 16% DV Phosphorus

Learn more about the
nutritional benefits of REAL® dairy

Learn More

“You want [a plant-based yogurt] to taste good, look and feel like the real thing and be nutritionally equivalent, and they fail in all three [categories].”

— Dr. Neil Renninger, Ph.D., Co-founder of Ripple Foods1

REAL® Ingredients

You might be scared by what you see on imitator ingredient labels. They’re full of emulsifiers, gums and other hard-to-pronounce ingredients. REAL® dairy products are all natural, with simple, clean ingredient lists you can feel good about.

REAL® Salted Butter

Sweet Cream, Salt


Soybean Oil, Palm Oil, Water, Buttermilk, Potassium Sorbate, Soy Lecithin, Mono and Diglycerides (emulsifiers), Lactic Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Vitamin A Palmitate, Beta-Carotene

Unbeatable Flavor & Performance

There’s no mistaking the results you get from using REAL® dairy products. Whether you’re baking with REAL® butter, making a sauce with REAL® cream or creating a cheesy appetizer, REAL® dairy offers deliciously rich flavor and perfect texture that you won’t get from imitators.

REAL® Unsalted Butter

  • High fat content (at least 80%) creates tender texture and crisp edges
  • Imparts irreplaceably rich, buttery flavor

Plant-based spread

  • Fillers and high water content create tough texture and flat, unappealing shape
  • Lacks flavor

Trustworthy Appearance

Nothing says “artificial” like the pale, rubbery appearance of many imitation dairy products. You can only trust the rich color of all-natural REAL® milk and other REAL® dairy products.

REAL® Cheddar Cheese

  • Rich, golden yellow color
  • Crumbly texture

Imitator “Cheddar Cheese”

  • Pale color
  • Rubbery texture

“Vegan cheese is just terrible. As scientists, we know why it doesn’t work. It doesn’t
have the crucial dairy proteins.”

— Inja Radman, Ph.D., Molecular Biologist and Founder of New Culture2

Fighting For Better Labels

Dairy imitators increasingly use terms like “milk,” “butter” and “cheese” on their labels. This is false and misleading, and can prevent consumers from getting the nutrition they need. This practice also violates legal definitions of dairy products established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Unfortunately, the FDA doesn’t enforce these requirements strongly enough, and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF)­­­­ is fighting back. As the organization that manages the REAL® Seal, NMPF backs the DAIRY PRIDE Act to protect the integrity of REAL® dairy products. This measure would prompt the FDA to enforce labeling requirements for dairy products by establishing deadlines and making the agency accountable to Congress.

With enough support, The DAIRY PRIDE Act will put imitation dairy products in their place, and help consumers understand what’s REAL®.

To learn more about labeling and food standards, visit the NMPF website.

Learn More

Visit our REAL® Guide to find REAL® dairy products, stores, restaurants and more.

Go To Guide


1 DairyReporter, “Ripple Foods seeks to disrupt plant-based yogurt category,” Sept. 18, 2017,

2 The New York Times, “Got Impossible Milk? The Quest for Lab-Made Dairy,” Aug. 2, 2019,