Friday, March 16, 2012: 10:41:48 AM

Food Processing Poll Feature

Milk consumption no more a fad

Survey reveals that popularity of milk has come down as India’s favourite drink

Considered as the elixir of good health, milk has evolved over the years as a component of the diet. While our ancestors enjoyed it in its purest form, our consumption of milk remains restricted largely to the processed form only. Recently, a section of the health conscious have advocated a controlled consumption of milk as its health benefits are known to come with certain riders. While the technicalities are left to the nutritionists, milk’s dominance as the favourite drink is gradually on the wane.

 
A recent survey by FoodProcessing360 saw majority of the respondents (80%) opining that milk is indeed losing its popularity. While the country’s milk production has been quite high in recent years and dairy giants are thriving, its consumption in the pure form has come down significantly. According to homemaker Bidisha Roy, “Today kids do not want to drink milk and prefer milk products like cheese spreads and cheese. Even flavoured milk is not popular in most households. Parents have little time today to run after their kids to make them drink their glass of milk in the morning and do not mind them eating other milk products. The benefits however are not the same.”
 
Unquestionable importance
 
While milk may be losing its dominance in the favourite drink category, soft drinks made from milk have also seen a dip in popularity over the years. This is mainly because of the aggressive marketing strategy of the aerated colas, against which none of the domestic players in the soft drink category could survive.
 
Dr V H Potty, renowned food technologist and chairman of Diversified Food Technologies (India), Mysore, reminds us of the importance of milk and also shares an interesting fact, “All recognise that milk is a protective food, especially for non-meat eating population, children and women, due its unique nutrient make up, containing almost all nourishing factors necessary for survival and growth. The ability of a new born baby to survive and grow exclusively on mother's milk is proof enough, if it is needed, regarding the virtues of milk as a food. Before the advent of pasteurisation by heat in the 19th century, people were consuming raw fresh milk without even heating at home under the impression that heat would destroy nutrients, making milk less nutritious.”
 
Therefore, while its popularity may be waning, milk’s importance in the diet remains almost unquestionable.
 
Tias Chakraborty

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