A study conducted by Tetra Pak, one of the world’s leading food processing and packaging solutions companies, and market research agency Millward-Brown revealed that the prolonged and repeated boiling of milk depletes nutrition, which is vital for children.
The study, part of Tetra Pak’s continuing efforts to understand consumer behaviour, showed that only 17 per cent mothers surveyed believed that the boiling of milk affects its nutritional properties.
Even more startling was the fact that 59 per cent mothers felt boiling increases milk’s nutritional value, and 24 per cent felt that it does not impact its nutritional properties. It highlighted their lack of awareness, leading to children not receiving 100 per cent nutritional benefits of milk.
“It is surprising that most households are unaware that prolonged and repeated boiling of milk leads to loss in nutrition. In a majority of Indian households, milk is boiled more than thrice and skimmed, and hence is devoid of most of its essential vitamins, proteins, amino acids and minerals,” Sanjeev Bagai, senior consultant paediatrician and nephrologist, chief executive officer, Radiant Life Care (RLC) Pvt Ltd, Delhi, and chairman, Nephron, said.
“Vitamins and proteins are denatured and destroyed when milk is boiled at temperatures above 100 degrees Celsius for over 15 minutes,” he added.
“Milk is a critical source of nutrition for infants, as 80 per cent of a child’s growth potential is achieved by the age of two. So any loss of vital ingredients in milk, especially proteins and vitamins, could cause growth deficiency, weak bones, poor muscle development and neurological impact among other long-term effects,” Bagai said.
“Mothers need to be sensitised regarding improper boiling practices as it depletes milk of nutrients. At the same time, they should also be aware about technologies that best protect milk,” he added.
As Indian consumers are becoming more health-conscious in terms of the food and beverages they consume, increased awareness on making healthier choices is extremely important.
Commenting on the findings of the study, Ritika Samaddar, chief dietician, Max Hospital, New Delhi, stated that milk forms an integral part of everyone’s diet, especially that of children.
“It is a vital source for Vitamin D and Vitamin B12, which help in calcium absorption. Both these vitamins are highly heat-sensitive, and boiling milk destroys both substantially,” she said.
According to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), consumers are slowly switching from high-sugar carbonated soft drinks to more healthy alternatives, regardless of price.
This trend is believed to be a result of the increased awareness about obesity and weight-related issues, as well as the desire for a better lifestyle.
Innovation in India’s retail milk market has revolved around offering convenience to different consumer segments. Easy-to-use packaging and long-life formats are gaining popularity, particularly due to the problems associated with the storage and transportation of milk.
“Mothers will always want what is best for their children, and we consider it vital that they be made aware about the quality and nutritional value of what they consume,” Kandarp Singh, managing director, South Asia markets, Tetra Pak, said.
“The study validates the need for us to continue to raise awareness on the benefits of milk processed and packaged with aseptic technology that offers convenience without compromising on hygiene, quality or nutrition. Tetra Pak has over six decades of industry leadership in milk processing and packaging. We have been mapping consumer behaviour and perception to better understand milk consumption habits,” he stated.