Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The white stuff

Chocolate Chip Cookie And Milk
Chocolate Chip Cookie And Milk

The picture about milk is changing. Its a product that is used by many of us and is a main ingredient in our kitchens. Most families in the UK start their day with cereals covered in milk, drink milk and have endless cups of tea with milk. Is the daily cuppa threatened? I grew up with milk being an essential part of my diet as it was an easy way to obtain calcium and nutrition for growth.

Milk's primary use is food for young mammals and yet as humans we are an exception in that we continue to consume milk beyond infancy. Genetically we are probably not designed to deal with that and in fact many of us become lactose intolerant at some stage in our life.
Humans are an exception in the natural world for consuming milk past infancy. The sugar lactose is found only in milk, forsythia flowers, and a few tropical shrubs. The enzyme needed to digest lactose, lactase, reaches its highest levels in the small intestines after birth and then begins a slow decline. In normal circumstances, babies would be breastfed and then continue with some form of milk until weaned. Milk is used to make butter, cheese, yoghurt, kefir, condensed milk, powdered milk, milk chocolate etc.

The wholesaler is faced with a dilemma that requires some action. The amount of dairy farmers walking off the farms and selling up is increasing ( which in term will mean less production locally in the UK) and at the same time, transport costs and labour costs are increasing regularly. This means that their profit margins are being squeezed and as such they will be putting the prices up soon. The increase here is going to be 5 p per litre which is the equivalent of a 5% price rise. One of their reasons for putting the price up is that they want to continue to pay a fair price to the remaining farmers to ensure that productivity continues and stops the tide of farms being sold off. That is a positive as the alternative to keep up supply is to import milk from other countries which only adds food miles to stand still.

The law of economics states that if a demand is greater than supply, the price goes up and if demand is lower than supply, then the price comes down.

Since 2 out of 5 in this household are lactose intolerant and actually allergic to milk products, we have made changes and the results have been noticeable. We also have far fewer plastic milk bottles to take to the recycling plant. It is a personal choice.

If you want to avoid a 5% increase in the price of milk out of your budget you could simply cut out 5% of your milk consumption per week. That could easily be achieved with cutting out 1 cereal breakfast per week or drinking black tea or black coffee. As an alternative to cereal, try porridge made with oats and water, eggs,toast or a fruit smoothie. If you want cereal, muesli is quite tasty with fruit juice or water.

A price increase in the raw ingredient of milk will also push up price ultimately of butter, cheese and all products that have milk in it.

1 comment:

Mrs Green said...

Hi :)
INteresting post. We rarely buy cows milk, and my daughter has never drunk it really. We don't start the day with milk and cereal either - like you we use fruit juice on cereals. Or I will make porrage with water and sometimes a little soy milk. We use nut 'milks' too or make waffles or even eat last nights leftovers for breakfast!

I feel too that cows milk is for calves. My daughter was breastfed for 2 years and we tried her on a bit of milk afterwards, but it bunged up her nose and ears. Occasionally I can get hold of raw goats milk, but milk just isn't part of our regular shopping.

I have to remember to get a pint in if friends are coming over so that I can make them a cup of tea!

I will say we DO eat yogurt and use butter (you wouldn't get me near margarine), but I'm astonished at how much milk the average family gets through.

Thought provoking post - thanks!