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Turning buffalo milk into big money

India is the world’s largest dairy producer, but only 10 per cent of milk is processed and sold. Copenhagen scientist Richard Ipsen explains how buffalo milk could be a goldmine

Buffalo milk is creamier than cow milk. It has a higher fat and protein content, and for over a billion Indians, it is often the dairy product of choice.

But the hidden potential of the white gold is as yet unrealized, according to Copenhagen scientist Richard Ipsen, research group leader in Dairy Technology from the Department of Food Science.

Recently, he visited the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in India to discuss how buffalo milk business can become more of a money-maker.

Read more about his visit in the article ‘Copenhagen to help India with buffalo milk’ here.

Number one dairy nation

There is a whole lot of milk in India, explains Ipsen to the University Post.

Accounting for 16 per cent of the world’s milk production, India is the biggest global dairy nation. But most of it is consumed at home, or locally, without ever being processed or sold.

»We are trying to move the milk from being an artisan product, which is consumed at home, to processed product which can generate extra funds,« he explains.

Sweet treats last longer

This means that milk, and particularly buffalo milk – which accounts for around 60 per cent of dairy production in India – has the potential to be a big earner.

Population and economic growth in India means that there is an increased demand for dairy products.

Indians often use the rich milk to make sweets. They boil it with sugar syrup, nuts and spices to make tasty balls, called sweetmeats. This does not just make the milk taste good. It increases the shelf-life.

International buffalo invasion

And this is one of the focal points of the university collaboration. To reach a larger market, both at home and abroad, dairy products need better storage stability.

The Copenhagen scientists are working on solutions including heat treatment, and better packaging.

And this might lead to buffalo milk in Danish shops.

»There is a potential to access export markets. There are lots of Indians living in different countries who are interested in these products. They may also be attractive to non-Indians, because of the novelty factor,« says Ipsen.

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