Ultra-heat-treated (UHT) or ultra-pasteurized milk is the variety of processed milk that is subjected to temperatures above 280o F for at least 2 seconds, after or before packaging, for obtaining a product with an extended shelf life. Studies have shown that UHT milk market can stay fit-for-consumption for as long as 6 to 9 months, until the packaging is opened.
How UHT Milk has Revolutionized Marketing of Milk in Developing Countries?
The most unique feature of UHT milk is that it can be stored for a longer duration even at a room temperature. The long shelf-life of UHT milk has emerged as an attractive commercial option for procuring a hygienic product, of consistent quality that lasts for a longer duration anywhere, at anytime, and in any quantity.
In a country such as India, which is the highest milk producing country of the world and which hosts a tropical climate, milk cannot be kept at ambient temperature for more than three hours immediately after milking. Many rural parts of the country do not have access to effective cooling equipment due to their high costs and fluctuating electric supplies. Thus, preservation of milk prior to distribution is a major issue in the country. With a scientifically proven and effective method such as ultra pasteurization, this problem can be largely tackled and management of milk can be made more effective.
Being a developing country, India requires low cost UHT processing and aseptic packaging mechanisms. With the introduction of cost-effective UHT processing and aseptic packaging mechanism, the UHT milk market can be made more accessible to the rural parts of the country, which are the largest contributors to country’s milk production.
Why is the U.S. Consumer Resorting to Unprocessed Milk?
Currently nearly 80% of all the organic milk sold is UHT pasteurized. However, the market is observing a declining level of acceptance from the consumers segment partially owing to the distinct high cooked flavor of UHT milk. The UHT industry has made many attempts to improve the quality and taste of UHT milk and has also been successful to varying degrees. But these attempts require adding up additives and flavonoid compounds to get rid of the high-cooked flavor of UHT milk.
Concerns such as these and some more related to certain studies demonstrating how pasteurization and ultra pasteurization kills the enzymes present in milk that help in digesting casein (the protein found in milk), are leading consumers in resorting to unprocessed milk.
Global Market Dynamics
A report published by market research company Persistence Market Research states that the global market for UHT milk is largely driven by the rising demand for UHT processing mechanisms in developing countries in the Asia Pacific. The report states that the global UHT milk market had a valuation of US$60.8 billion in 2012 and is expected to expand at a 12.8% CAGR over the period 2013-19. Growing at this pace, the report states that the market will rise to a valuation of US$137.7 billion by 2019. The report identifies the lack of prominence of chill chains in India and China, two of world’s largest producers of milk, as the key driving force for the global UHT milk market.
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