All About Milk
21st April 2015
Fresh milk and other dairy products are one of the definitions of the average British diet, and over the years the UK has managed to both produce and manufacture milk in the most efficient ways using increasing technology. However, with nearly every British household having milk and other dairy products such as cheese, yoghurt and cream on their daily shopping list, how can we meet the demand for this highly sought after food group?
Well, it all starts with the farmers of dairy cows. Dairy farms range in size from small scale to large and extensive ventures where cows can be farmed from having massive areas of grazing outdoors, to miles of sheds where they are kept exclusively. However, despite the size of the operation and whether animals are outdoor or indoor reared, the biggest concerns for farmers are the health and welfare of the cows.
Despite herd sizes having increased in recent years, there are always a number of seasonal implications to the production of milk. Firstly, there is traditionally an increase in production in May as this is just after the calving season and when mothers are naturally producing the most amount of milk. This is then followed by a dip in the late autumn when the condition of the grass becomes poorer and therefore, it is more challenging for a dairy cow to produce as much milk as before.
Once the milk has been collected by farmers, it is then in turn collected by milk hauliers...a fleet that is approximately 1,300 vehicles strong and manned by over 2,000 drivers. Once the raw milk reaches processing plants roughly half of it stays as liquid milk while the rest gets turned into cheese, powders, condensed milk, cream and obviously, butter.
Despite such a high demand for milk in the UK, very few people actually buy directly using the doorstep delivery service as most milk and other dairy products are sold through supermarkets. It is thought that in the 5percent market share provided by doorstep delivery, around 1 million pints of milk are provided every day directly to people's homes. And on top of all of this, the EU and UK authorities also provide free milk to children under five who are in registered nurseries.