MilkYou all know how it is – you go to the supermarket and you buy stuff and you throw it in the trolley and you get to the checkout and pay your money and leave. Gone are the days where I knew how much things cost. Since supermarkets stopped pricing goods individually I never look to read the numbers near the bar graphs – half the time I can’t find them anyway.

So, it came as a bit of a shock when I borrowed some coins out of Sugar’s wallet to go and buy a bottle of milk from the dairy. Luckily I had taken all her gold coins – two two’s and a one. I grabbed a bottle of milk out of the chiller, passed it over to my friendly dairy owner who promptly but politely demanded $4.70 from me. This left me with 30 cents change.

Bloody hell! I could have bought two big bottles of Coke for that (if I’d wanted a sugar fix and, in the long run, bad teeth).

Why is it that dairy farmers are making stacks of money with the big Fonterra payout, and we are paying more for milk domestically? Surely it should be like buying petrol in Saudi Arabia – it’s refined in their backyard and they sell it to the locals for a pittance. What’s going on?

Dairy products are in great demand all around the world. There was a huge drought in Australia, so their milk production is down; there is more emphasis on cheese in the European Union as a result of changes to the Common Agriculture Policy back in 2003; and rainstorms in Argentina held up production there.

So demand is centred here. In little old New Zealand where dairy farmers are – excuse the pun – creaming it.

To those people who do follow the price of their grocery items with more care than me it’s little wonder that they are buying soft drinks and powdered juices for their children instead of milk. It’s a crime actually. This behaviour adds to obesity, diabetes, bad teeth…and a lack of milk reduces iron intake, and calcium necessary for bone health.

This from the National Children’s Nutrition Survey in 2002 :

Children consumed carbonated drinks weekly in the following proportions: Soft drinks 45 percent, Coca Cola or other cola drinks 43 percent, and Mountain Dew 9 percent.

Powdered fruit drink and Fruit drink from concentrate or cordial were drunk weekly by 54 percent and 32 percent of children respectively.

A higher proportion of New Zealand children drank Tea weekly (21 percent) than Coffee (6 percent).

Sports drinks were consumed weekly by 8 percent of New Zealand children and ‘New Age’ drinks by 6 percent. Forty-three percent of New Zealand children reported that they consumed Juice weekly.

There were no differences between males and females in the proportions consuming these types of drinks weekly.

However, the proportions of children 11–14 years who drank Coca Cola or other cola drinks, Tea, Sports drinks, ‘New Age’ drinks and Coffee weekly were higher compared with those 5–6 years.

In comparison milk consumption was lower: the study found…

…thirty-eight percent of New Zealand children reported drinking milk (not flavoured)
every day, 34 percent weekly, 10 percent monthly and 17 percent less than monthly or
never. Frequency of milk consumption was unrelated to sex or age. The proportion
consuming milk daily was higher for NZEO (males 41 percent; females 39 percent) and
Mäori (39 percent; 33 percent) children than for Pacific children (32 percent;
23 percent)

Obviously the low consumption of milk products is not all related to cost – but it has to be one of the contributing factors.

We either need to put up the price of soft drinks (tax it like cigarettes) or lower the cost of milk (subsidise it and make it available in schools again).

5 thoughts on “The price of milk”

  1. Milk in Belgium is digusting, it is not fresh but it is cheaper than in New Zealand.

    On an aside note, New Zealand produce is all through Europe. We were able to buy New Zealand onions in Norway, in the same red bags they sell them in back home. Globalisation does my head in. Norway is possibly as far away as you can get.

  2. Praps consumption of milk is down because the food police have told us it causes obesity and therefore Auckland hospital has banned it altogether.:
    See this.
    So by giving kids fizzy drink, we would only be protecting them from this deadly killer.

    On the very best view, the messages we’re getting are mixed. Are we meant to give kids milk for a healthy breakfast or ban milk?

    If milk is banned, should we be giving trim milk to infants? Should Dads be breastfeeding?

    If milk is the most important public health issue in New Zealand, as the Auckland hospital says, then surely milk should be in the same category as cigarettes? To be honest, I would have thought fags were slightly worse for kids, but how would I know?

    It is a bit strange to see this this stuff about the desirability of milk right along side all them messages about how dangerous it is supposed to be.

  3. Of course a dairy is going to charge you massive markup.

    Milk isn’t that good for you anyway.

  4. I read the link and wasn’t particularly surprised to see that Auckland hospital has banned the sale of Tim Tams via vending machines…although this does seem to go against their decision to allow a McDonalds franchise into the Starship Childrens Hospital when it forst opened – perhaps they have seen the light and removed it.

    When one of our children spent 10 days in Starship soon after they were born the most tragic site (other than other sick children) was watching families sitting on the end of their childs bed surrounded by McDonalds bags…I found that pretty disturbing – this was before McD’s introduced their ‘healthy’ options.

    As for trim milk to infants – that’s poppycock…small kids need to get fat from somewhere other than overly processed and preserved foods (hamburgers and fizzy drink). And I hope that they expend more energy than you or I running it off – unless you let them sit in front of TV all day.

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