Camels Bring New Flavor to Dairy Aisle

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By Colette Jones

  • Camel milk market expected to grow by 7% in the next 4 years
  • African ranchers choose to invest in camels, rather than cows

After experiencing more severe droughts in recent years, Kenyan ranchers are trading in their cows for camels. Since camels require less maintenance under extreme weather conditions, they have become a more sustainable source of milk in East Africa.

Why This Matters: Unlike female cows who depend on copious amounts of water daily to produce a steady milk flow, female camels can produce milk for about a week without consuming any extra water. This makes them a better investment for ranchers whose income relies on their consistent milk production.

Due to this increase in production, East Africans are capitalizing off of camel milk in many different ways. It’s replacing cow milk in chocolates and ice creams and is even sold fresh by the liter in vending machines.

Research from a study conducted by Technavio, a market research company, expects the camel milk market to grow by approximately 7% in the next four years, but the company admitted that plant-based milk alternatives are still their biggest global competitors.

“[Plant-based] drinks have low-fat and low-cholesterol levels. Medical benefits, rising health consciousness among consumers and increasing vegan population are driving the demand for such products.”

Situational Awareness: Camel milk is being advertised as “healthy” and “beneficial”, but similar to its counterpart, cow milk, it still poses health risks to humans. Even though it doesn’t contain lactose, Novus International funded a study on 150 camels that discovered Q fever. The bacterial disease can be fatal to humans and was present in about a third of the camels tested.

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