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Dairy Defined: Be It Bank or Beverage, Choices Matter

ARLINGTON, VA | While we’ll leave fuller explanations for the turmoil financial institutions such as Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank and others to those with more expertise, it’s clear that good-old-fashioned poor choices played a role. It turns out that betting heavily on low-interest government debt when that government is hiking interest rates to fight inflation might not work well; nor is overloading your portfolio on cryptocurrency. And given that propensity for bad bets, it isn’t shocking to see what Silicon Valley Bank had to say about plant and cell-based meat-and-dairy alternatives in this 2019 analysts’ report, which mixed tired tropes of the ills of animal agriculture with boosterism for the future of dairy ripoffs like Ripple and Perfect Day as well as alt-protein companies like Beyond Meat, which “has wowed consumers with its realistic taste and meat-like appearance,” according to the authors. “At Silicon Valley Bank, we embrace the future of the food industry. We have deep expertise working with foodtech companies and strong ties to the Silicon Valley ecosystem,” the analysts wrote. “If you are working in this space and would like to learn more about SVB’s role, please reach out to chat.” Of course, we know that that turned out. Beyond Meat stock is now considered a “recipe for disaster” due in part because of its wildly self-inflated expectations. Plant-based beverage sales fell last year. And Silicon Valley Bank? It’s now part of First Citizens Bank & Trust Company after being unloaded by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which took over the institution upon Silicon Valley’s failure. So yes, perhaps it’s time to “reach out to chat.” About how venture capital investors have thrown good money after bad at products of questionable quality that are more about marketing pitch than actual market need. About how banks seeking a quick buck put depositors at risk with poor investment choices, which include those products. And about how high-quality, proven nutrition, with a product that’s been in demand for millennia, might, unsurprisingly, be the best investment anyone could make – both for consumers and for investors who’d happily have a little less drama in their financial futures. Dairy, like every other industry, has its challenges, which it’s dedicated to meet. But with record exports and the highest U.S. per-capita consumption since 1959, it’s a safe bet to say its future is bright. That’s what you get with real quality. You can bank on it.

### The National Milk Producers Federation, based in Arlington, VA, develops and carries out policies that advance dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. NMPF’s member cooperatives produce more than two-thirds of U.S. milk, making NMPF dairy’s voice on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. For more, visit www.nmpf.org.

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