Yegg, Inc. is a food distributor as well as a corporation founded that specializes in export management, trading, and trade finance.
(PRUnderground) June 24th, 2022
Humans are a curious species. Our constant urge to find better things has pushed us to create new beginnings. We always wanted to taste new food, get new devices, and try efficient cooking methods. A similar driving force led us to the evolution of milk and dairy products worldwide. Some of the dairy varieties we see today were not available in the recent past. It sprung out from our inventions over several years.
Someone might have looked at an animal feeding its young and thought, “Can we taste that?”. I think it was a deeper question like “What do babies get from milk that we don’t?”. It might have led people to try milk as adults and thus introduce the drinking of milk into our lives.
The initial use of milk by humans dates back to 10,000 years ago. Our ancestors used to drink milk as it was. However, another question struck us and opened the doors of today’s broad range of dairy products. What can we make with milk? That’s when we started looking at milk from nutritional, flavor, culture, and commerce standpoints.
Are you already intrigued to know more about the evolution and history of dairy products? Let me walk you through the chapters right below.
Milk’s Initial Journey – The Baby Steps!
The best part is knowing the earliest history of milk and dairy products. We might have started consuming other mammals’ milk to avoid starvation. Also, infants have always required milk from their mothers or a wet nurse. A wet nurse is a woman employed to suckle another woman’s child. So, milk started becoming mainstream as humans changed, adapted, and evolved.
Let’s look more closely.
● The onset
The use of dairy began in modern-day Turkey in around 8,000 BC. The civilization back then was clever enough to transform animal milk into cheese, butter, and yogurt to increase the longevity of the milk due to a lack of refrigeration.
● It all started with domesticating cattle
The ancient dairy industry was set in motion by the domestication of cattle. Soon, the domestication of sheep and goats gained an impetus over time.
● A sudden challenge
Everything was going fine when Mother Nature intervened and threw everything into disarray. People and cattle traveled, bringing with them a genetic mutation known as lactose tolerance, which appeared shortly after dairy products were invented. Like other mammals, humans were not designed to digest the natural sugar found in milk, lactose, after childhood.
● A ray of hope!
In around circa 6,000 BCE, some adult humans developed the ability to digest lactose. This ability spread down the genes of generations in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
For a long time, the situation remained the same. In the millennia that followed, little change occurred with milk, except that more people began to respect it for its nutrition and flavor. Milk gained huge popularity among some of the early American colonists who transported cows across the Atlantic.
When Innovation Met Milk!
Raw milk is extremely perishable. So, it stayed close to the farm and milking yard throughout the years. People used to drink milk almost immediately after milking as a beverage if not transformed into cheese or butter.
Soon, the global Industrial Revolution led us into a modernized era of large-scale productions. Did it change the fate of milk? No, challenges for milk lovers remained the same despite the Industrial Revolution. Why so? It’s because milk could not travel long distances from unclean urban diaries due to diseases transmitted by raw milk like TB, scarlet fever, typhoid, and diphtheria.
What could have been the next step? Killing the disease-causing germs from milk? It happened through pasteurization.
Pasteurization is the process of killing hazardous germs with heat and boiling. However, it wasn’t a quick fix.
● Louis Pasteur’s invention in 1864 had an immediate impact on wine and beer.
● After 20 years, a German chemist named Frans Von Soxhlet proposed that the method be applied to milk.
● Chicago was the first city to make pasteurization mandatory for all milk sold in 1908.
● In 1948, Michigan became the first state to implement a similar statute.
● In 1987, what had previously been a state-by-state rule became a national standard. So, pasteurization had a slow start.
Pasteurization was not the only innovation with milk in the past. Do you know? A 17th-century evolution resulted in the creation of chocolate milk, which is still a popular beverage among children and adults.
Chocolate milk – a milk derivative beverage
● Hans Sloane, an Irish botanist, visited Jamaica in the late 1600s and was given a drink of cocoa and water by the islanders.
● He found it disgusting and decided to make it more appetizing by adding milk and sugar.
● Sloane transported his formula back to England, where it was made and sold as medicine, though it’s unclear if he was the first to blend milk and chocolate.
And, it didn’t stop!
Furthermore, it was high time to increase the shelf-life of raw milk without converting it into cheese and butter. It brings us to the invention of powdered milk.
Powdered milk established a nutritious solution to give milk portability and prolonged shelf life. These traits made powdered milk a popular choice for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Do you know? A Russian scientist invented the technology to make powdered milk at the turn of the nineteenth century, which keeps all of the nutrients in milk while being a fraction of the weight in the dry state.
More milk derivatives!
Milk became the go-to beverage in the American diet. The Civil War produced a surge in milk’s popularity in our diets. The Union Army’s food supply included newly produced condensed milk, which had 60 percent of its water removed and a sweetener added. It was quickly followed by unsweetened evaporated milk on the market.
Milk continued to grow in the 20th century as the processes to make it safer and more efficient to produce led to an expansion and development.
20th Century: The journey of milk getting mainstream
● In the United States, World War II aided in the transformation of milk. Physicians recognized a pattern of malnutrition in many of the young men who had grown up penniless.
● Furthermore, while food restriction was an indelible part of the war effort at home, milk was not rationed, and demand skyrocketed.
● When the war ended, school lunches with milk as part of the meal emerged as an ideal approach to handle both children’s nutrition and the boon of milk production. It was aimed at dealing with malnutrition and starvation.
● Malnutrition was already being addressed in several areas thanks to government-funded milk programs that began in 1940.
● Meanwhile, President Harry S. Truman signed the National School Lunch Act into law in 1946.
● The Special Milk Program helped put an additional 400 million pints of milk into American schools, on top of the milk that was already on the school lunch menu.
Over the years, the rules have changed, but the final consequence is that milk is now as common in schools.
The pressure on organic milk developed quickly. To be labeled “organic,” things had to follow stringent farming regulations, such as time on the pasture. There are good reasons to make those decisions, and research supports them. Cows that spend more time on pasture are happier, their milk tastes better, and they give more nourishment, according to studies.
The Present State of Milk Worldwide
Milk’s pioneering spirit lives on today. Milk beverages are no longer just milk with chocolate sauce and strawberry toppings. It’s much beyond that for the milk lovers to appreciate and prefer.
Ultra-filtered milk is a breakthrough in the industry. Ultra-filtration is a mechanical filtering process that separates and removes some lactose and water from milk, resulting in a greater protein concentration.
Consequently, low-sugar, high-protein milk is produced. The technique is decades old and was created to cure whey, but it has now been adapted to produce nutritious milk. Researchers are considering a similar approach to producing cheese.
Flavored milk is one of the fastest-growing parts of the milk market. Milk comes in a variety of tastes these days, including some out-of-the-box flavors like tutti-frutti, banana, root beer, vanilla, coffee, chocolate mint, and even pumpkin spice.
It’s quite strange and impressive how milk traveled from pasteurization and powdered milk to ultra-filtered milk and pumpkin spice milk. The world’s first milk usage is so far away from how we see milk today. Almost everything about milk has changed over the years, except that milk lovers are still widely available. I must say that milk is a leading edible to combat malnutrition and starvation, particularly among children.
I think that we should give credit to those who discovered milk as edible for the first time. The never-ending cycle of milk has never stopped since then.
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