Ruminating over milk’s status

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Nutritionist Anneline Padayachee was an after dinner speaker at the Murray Muster in Yarrawonga.

Dairy farmers got a double serving of their favourite beverage when an after dinner speaker left them with plenty of nutritional ideas to ruminate over.

Nutritionist Anneline Padayachee addressed the farmers attending the Murray Muster conference at Yarrawonga on May 18 and 19, and reassured the group that milk was going to remain a staple on Australian tables for a while to come.

The food scientist was armed with information about the value of milk in diets and the status milk held in the market place.

She was the focus of robust questioning from farmers throughout the evening.

Dr Padayachee was able to address a topic common around the kitchen table on many farms — the emergence of plant-based alternatives to milk.

National statistics show dairy milk consumption per capita in Australia in 2021 was 97.3 litres, compared to alternatives, which were 8.6 litres per person.

Dr Padayachee, who holds a PhD in nutritional food science, said consumers had their own views about why they drink milk.

For many consumers, milk is associated with breakfast cereals, a tea and coffee additive, and children.

Consumers often choose milk alternatives such as almond milk because of a perceived association with a healthy lifestyle.

But Dr Padayachee said milk had well-substantiated nutritional value, including good fats and great proteins.

“Plant-based alternatives don’t really have the nutrients that milk has. They have to have ingredients added,” she said.

“Just because it is plant-based does not mean they are nutritionally comparable.”

Dr Padayachee acknowledged there was a need for non-dairy products, because there were some people who were lactose intolerant.