Value-Added Dairy Products – An added edge to the balanced nutritious food

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New Delhi, March 05, 2019:  The global population is expected to grow upto 8 billion by 2030. Food scarcity is one of the major global challenges and is forcing people to look for ways of ensuring the available land for farming.

Dairy products are emerging as balanced nutritious food and are a key element in household food scarcity. Milk is the most valuable protein food that is widely consumed by people all over the world. Milk as a raw food is easily available on various dairy farms that are processed to increase the variety of nutrients.

Processing of dairy products gives small-scale dairy producers higher cash incomes than selling raw milk and offers better opportunities to reach regional and urban markets. Milk processing can also help to deal with seasonal fluctuations in milk supply.

Preservation of milk
Milk processing allows the preservation of milk for days, weeks or months and helps to reduce foodborne illness. The transformation of raw milk into processed milk and products can benefit entire communities by generating off-farm jobs in milk collection, transportation, processing and marketing.

Milk and milk products have been used by man since prehistoric times. Butter making was recorded as far back as 2000 BC. It is well-known that cheese making was discovered accidentally and initially developed in Iraq Circa 6000-7000 BC and spread with the migration of populations due to famines, conflicts and invasions according to fnbnews.com.

Currently, a variety of products on the shelf entice the customers. The market segmentation of milk products depends upon the type of product such as milk, butter, cheese, yoghurt and ice cream.

Milk, cheese and lactose hold a major share of the market. Rising consumption levels of foods such as ice creams and milk shakes are also anticipated to drive market growth over the forecast period. In addition, value-added dairy products have larger shelf life than raw milk.

Traditional products

Different countries have different products with different names. Certain traditional products are also important in improving the economy of the country. For instance, in India, the different types of milk products include fat-rich (full-cream milk, cream, butter, margarine, ghee), heat-coagulated (khoa and its products), acid-coagulated (paneer, chhana), fermented (dahi, yoghurt,cheese), frozen (ice cream and frozen desserts), condensed and dried products and byproducts (caseinates, whey beverages).

For thousands of years, Arabs have kept livestock (camel, sheep, goat and cow) which continue to be important in household and national economy due to considerable importance of different products from different animals. The terminology varies as butter is called zibda, cheese is called bouhezza, goat milk cheese is called aoules and camel milk is called shmen. Each type of product can be further categorised as low fat, medium fat or high fat depending upon the type of raw milk.

The different categories of products open up new avenues for packaging. The requirement of fat-rich products such as butter and ghee is entirely different from the frozen or dried products. Such a demand can be met if there are dedicated industries with employees who are well-versed with both the aspects dairy and packaging. Thus, it creates new employment opportunities.

Another domain that is currently rising is functional foods which is creating new markets. This includes probiotic products for which milk is usually preferred. This is because milk and milk products are an efficient carrier of the probiotic microbes due to its rich matrix of protein, fat, lactose and mineral which is just optimum to maintain the viability. Major probiotic products include probiotic milk, yoghurt and cheese.

Demand and supply gap
International trade is major source of bridging the gap between demand and supply. Globally, major traded products are cheese and curd with 38% share of world exports, followed by milk and concentrated cream (29%), milk and cream not concentrated (11%), butter and milk fats (10%), natural milk products (7%) and buttermilk and yoghurt (6%).

Consumers nowadays are becoming more concerned about health and nutrition is increasing the consumer preference for dairy products, which is going to bring opportunities and challenges to the global dairy industry. The various benefits of dairy products on human health are providing tremendous marketing opportunities for high value-added dairy products.

Export destinations
For Indian dairy industry, the major export destinations are the Middle-East, Singapore, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the US, Russian Federation, Algeria, Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia and Egypt.

Apart from SMP, casein, and ghee, butter and whole milk powder are the other important products exported from India. Indigenous milk products and desserts, for example paneer and chhana-based sweets like rasogulla, have been exported. In both frozen and ready-to-eat form, paneer is being exported. These products have a huge demand.

Looking at the global market, India is an exporter of almost all dairy products. India is a minor contributor in the world dairy market, with 1.6 % of the world dairy exports whereas it is the largest producer of milk in the world.

Even after the onset of Operation Flood, the exports of dairy sector from India are still low. Nevertheless, Indian dairy industry has a huge potential in future and will keep influencing world trade. Recently, Amul has entered the world dairy trade to bid with global dairy giants. India’s cost of production is lowest in the world, and that’s the reason it enjoys a comparative advantage in milk production.

One big change, says Jochen Ebert, MD, Danone Foods and Beverages India, the company that introduced a few new sub-categories, such as flavoured yoghurt and ready-to-eat custard, is that many things that were earlier made at home are now bought by urban couples and single working women.

Nestle, the largest and oldest private milk player globally, has recently launched Greek yoghurt, Nestle a+ Grekyo Greek yogurt, which is a super concentrated yoghurt. It is a swooping category in India and is stocked by premium retailers. Nestle is present in the entire array of dairy product categories, especially in the value-added space.

Global products are easily available in different parts of the world with minute variations. But, apart from the global products, the local products of a country need to be promoted for their rich legacy and nutritional value. Promotion of commercially manufactured and standardised products emphasising the perceived health and lifestyle benefits associated with diets that are low in cholesterol and unsaturated fats is necessary without affecting the market of traditional products.

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