About UHT milk

Here’s an interesting AAP newswire story about UHT:

Despite the supermarket heavyweight’s price war on fresh milk, sales of UHT milk are on the rise and now account for nearly 10 per cent of total milk sales. However, statistics from Dairy Australia show that most Australians still prefer fresh milk on their cereal.

UHT milk sales increased eight per cent from 195 million litres to 211 million litres in 2009/2010 over the year before, accounting for 9.3 per cent of total milk sales for the same period.

Associate Professor Frank Zumbo of the University of NSW, said the rise of UHT milk sales was currently not a threat to the big supermarkets as the long life product was low maintenance and did not require refrigeration costs.

“If the trend continued, it would be troubling, but at the moment it’s clear consumers have a strong preference for fresh milk,” he said.

The number was off a low base, where UHT had traditionally had a very low percentage of the market, he told reporters on Friday.

“But we are seeing the owners of UHT brands trying to lift their profile through increased advertising.”

A survey of 2,500 milk drinkers by consumer research centre Canstar Blue found that out of all Australians who had purchased milk in the past six months, those drinking Devondale UHT milk said they were happier than consumers of other brands, based on overall satisfaction, taste, health benefits and packaging.

Canstar Blue manager Rebecca Logan said the results were surprising, given the attractive prices offered by major supermarkets on fresh milk.

“There’s no doubt long life milk has come a long way over the years and consumers are responding to its convenience and long shelf life,” Logan said in a statement on Friday.

The average Australian drinks 102 litres of milk a year, according to Australian Dairy Farmers.

So, what is UHT milk?

UHT stands for Ultra-High Temperature and refers to the pasteurisation process – the heating of milk to ensure it is free from nasty bugs. Rather than being heated at 74 degrees Celsius for about 15 seconds, it is heated at about 140 degrees Celsius for just two seconds.

There is little nutritional difference between “fresh” and “long life” milk and according to Curtin University scientists, UHT milk is more environmentally-friendly than “fresh” milk.

Which milk do we drink at the farm?

I’m often asked whether we drink milk straight from the vat. Well, no, actually we drink Devondale UHT milk, which is where some of our milk ends up, anyhow. It’s safer than raw milk and easier to get out of the pantry than out of a 17,500 litre vat!

7 thoughts on “About UHT milk

  1. I buy UTH milk for its convenience, have done for years, nothing worse than running out of milk when you’e desperate for a cup of tea.

  2. The environmental benefits of UHT milk are huge. No refrigeration and long life makes transport logistics much more efficient.
    What type of milk do we drink on our farm? Try to get our boys anything but straight from the vat! Yes I know there is a health risk.

  3. We always have some UHT on hand because we live on a farm and keeping fresh milk around all the time is hard. I wonder if the increase include all the Oat/Rice/Soy milks as well? I don’t really consider those milk.

    Have been seriously been thinking about moving towards UHT because I am trying to use less plastic. But I’m sure UHT packaging is still not great. I’ve been decanting into glass bottles to reduce exposure to plastic as well.

  4. I grew up on fresh milk, from the milkers on my Dad’s property in outback Qld. They were largely Illawarras, milked by the old cowboy/gardener. We kids had a tin mug in the milking shed & would hold it out to be filled by a few squirts from the teat. I married & moved even further into outback Qld, had to have milkers so chose Guernseys because their soft udders & smaller teats are much kinder to women’s hands! They gave buckets of milk, so I would put enough whole milk aside for the day, & separate the rest. The cream was thick & luscious, but I would often turn it into butter. I’m sure those cows helped me to rear beautiful healthy & active children, who loved the milk puddings & custards that the cows contributed to. The best junket was made by stirring the tablets into the warm milk before it cooled & the cream rose. Issues of safety or contamination were never dreamt of! The children liked to help get the cows in of an afternoon so the calves could be penned, & would follow me out on a pony or a pushbike. Now it’s we 2 old farts, we drink fat-reduced UHT, as by the time fresh milk gets to us it could be days old.
    This brings back the memories of early cold mornings, head buried in the flank of Lollylegs, or Clara, hands warm from her udder, & watching the steam rising from the hot milk as I stripped it into the bucket, while she stood patiently in the head bail, chewing her cud. I used to say that was the time of day when I had all my great thoughts!

  5. Pingback: No fresh milk for Australians? Is UHT the next big thing? | The Milk Maid Marian

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