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Milk, The Nutrition of Mankind
  • By Park Hyun-jong, reporter
  • 승인 2021.11.14 01:46
  • 호수 298
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▲ Dairies displayed in the refrigerator of a Supermarket

Mammals are lactating animals, of which the females feed their young individuals breast milk, filled with abundant nutrients. The digestive organs of young individuals are not adequately developed to digest solid foods, so breast milk is secreted to efficiently supply concentrated nutrients. Milk contains moisture, fat, protein, and minerals, and is especially rich in Vitamin B. 30% of fat contained in milk is made of unsaturated fat, which is necessary for the human body to develop and function well Therefore, in the west, mainly in Europe, milk always plays a major role in their meals. Milk-related food cultures, such as cheese and butter, made by processed milk, are also diverse. Mankind began to consume milk from around 3000 B.C., and cows have also been genetically modified to have excellent varieties in milk production. The current Holstein breed produces 30KG of milk a day. With the evolution of human beings, modernized processes and distribution, fresh milk can be consumed at home, far from the farms it originated from.

The way fresh milk is refrigerated from the ranch is also well known in relation to a story about Al Capone, the notorious Mafia boss. His Mafia organization made profits by distributing liquors during the U.S. prohibition of alcohol, in the 1920s. However, the prohibition period was likely to come to an end, so the Mafia had to find a new business model. In the 1920s, milk distribution and production were not systematized, so consumers had to drink low-quality milk, which was delivered at room temperature. Accordingly, Al Capone dominated the production and distribution of milk, supplied fresh milk using refrigerated transport vehicles for the first time, and introduced an, “Expiration Date labeling system,” to maximize sales. The Mafia was a leader of innovation in the milk industry and the established system continues to this day. All transportation is conducted by refrigerated vehicles, after the pasteurization process, and then consumed in each household.

Meanwhile, paper milk cartons are the most popular packaging in Korea. It has the advantage of being inexpensive, has reasonable sealing, and has ease of recycling. In the past, glass-bottled milk was delivered to homes every day, and used milk bottles were collected and reused after cleansing. Glass bottles are hygienic and thanks to excellent sealing, it was the most delicious way to keep milk fresh. It was even cheaper than paper cartons, in situations where it is possible to collect most empty bottles. Glass bottles have disappeared from the market due to high loss rates. Aluminum cans can be an excellent replacement, but it is not used as a packaging container for milk because of their high thermal conductivity. Therefore, it was not suitable for temperature-sensitive milk. Also, a large amount of minerals contained in milk accelerate corrosion of the metal can container. Of course, chocolate milk can be distributed in cans, as it is made from powdered milk, which show significantly different chemical characteristics.

Currently, milk is in a crisis phase. Domestic milk is losing ground due to its excessively high price and uncompetitive taste, as compared to imported milk products. Koreans' milk consumption has also decreased significantly, as the inflow of cheap and delicious foreign products has increased. Contrary to the perception that it was consumed as a healthy food in the past, side effects, such as fat content and indigestion of milk are now known, milk is now thought as a drink that people consume for pleasure. The fact that people can already get enough nutrients from their diet with an elevated standard of living, also affects them. Consumers now want a more delicious, quality milk. Korean dairy companies will also have to focus on producing and distributing more delicious and fresh milk that consumers seek in line with this trend, while also promoting milk consumption, by adjusting excessively expensive milk prices, to accommodate consumer’s cost of living Milk is on the table of families around the world. It is hoped that Korean milk will also be able to find its old reputation with better packaging, taste, and stabilized prices.

By Park Hyun-jong, reporter  tommyhil4444@gmail.com

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