Dairy in daily life
Dairy is an inseparable part of our daily lives. Open the fridge of a typical western household and you are likely to find something in the way of milk, buttermilk, one of the many cheeses available, butter, quark, cream and/or yoghurt. What’s more, you might be surprised to read that lots of other products also contain dairy ingredients: chocolate, ice cream, meat substitutes, biscuits, sauces and soups.
People in Asia and Africa are also increasingly acquiring a taste for dairy – both in the form of western staples and in the form of products that provide a better match with local conditions, such as long-life dairy drinks and concentrated milk. Some of these products are prepared locally from imported milk powder and (milk) fat. This means that they are not only just as nutritious as milk, but they can also be kept unchilled for a very long time and are easy to transport over long distances.
Together, the total global population consumes an average of just over 100 kilograms of dairy produce per person per year, measured in terms of ‘milk equivalents’.
Dairy has long been a staple element of the western diet. In the west, people eat and drink an average of 240 to 250 kilos of dairy (converted into kilograms of milk) per person per year. In non-western countries, dairy consumption amounts to just over 60 kilos per year, but it is growing faster than in the west.
Milk forms the basis of an almost endless variety of dairy products. How people use dairy produce, what products they make from milk and their preferences in terms of flavour differ from one country to the next. There are even regional differences in dairy consumption within a single country. That’s how closely dairy is intertwined with our daily lives.