Tts demand has increased as consumers’ perceptions about the product changed over time
The sales of ultra high temperature (UHT) milk have risen recently, as consumers are becoming more nutrition-conscious.
The method of processing UHT was discovered about 60 years ago. Now it is said to be gaining a huge popularity in the country, said industry insiders.
According to them, cow’s milk is packaged in a special carton pack of six layers of Tetra Pak, a globally renowned food packager, after heating for 4 seconds at a temperature of 135 to 140-degree Celsius and disinfected completely.
This method of storing milk is called Ultra High Temperature (UHT) method.
It is contained within the Tetra Pak and does not allow air, moisture and/or sunlight to enter inside, they also said.
As a result, milk stays at normal temperature for up to six months. The biggest advantage of UHT milk is that it can be consumed directly by opening the packet, within a certain period, they added.
A sales executive of Daily Shopping Super Shop said that a litre of pasteurized milk cost Tk75-80, whereas UHT milk cost Tk90 per litre.
“But the sale of UHT milk is surging. Consumers prefer it to other types for longevity, despite its higher price,” he added.
According to an official of Pran-RFL Group, they were the first to introduce UHT milk in the Bangladesh market back in 2003-04.
The group still has the biggest market share in Bangladesh.
Moreover, Brac's Aarong Dairy and Akij Group's Farm Fresh brands of UHT milk are also available in the market currently.
Chowdhury Kamruzzaman Kamal, director (marketing) of Pran-RFL Group, said that currently they have nearly 70% market share of UHT milk in the country.
UHT milk drew lukewarm responses from the consumers in early stages as they were unaware and the product was also unpopular in the country, he recalled.
But nowadays, its demand has increased as consumers’ perceptions about the products changed over time.
“Our brand's UHT milk increased in sales by 10-12% last year, compared to the previous year,” he also said.
He also mentioned that UHT milk has made people's daily lives much easier. Disinfecting milk in the conventional way is very time consuming and hard working.
He also said that the dairy sector is much more neglected than other sectors in Bangladesh.
Among the agricultural sectors, fisheries and poultry are getting a lot of support but the dairy industry is not getting anything compared to that. If the government had given us some policy support, the necessary technology support at the farmer's level, then maybe this sector could have gone further, he added.
Bangladeshis consume less milk?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a person needs to drink an average of 250 ml of milk daily, but the level of milk consumption in Bangladesh is two-third lower than WHO's recommendation, said institutions and experts related to public nutrition.
They also said that one of the reasons for low milk consumption in the country is the lower production of milk compared to its demand.
Moreover, there is a lot of risk of boiling milk and sterilizing. But this paves way for UHT milk as a credible alternative.
Demand for UHT milk has increased not only in the country but also in the international market.
Mohammad Anisur Rahman, senior director of Brac Enterprises, said that he sees the possibility of increased demand for UHT milk in the coming years. Last year, sales of Aarong's UHT milk increased by about 18%, he added.
Rashida Begum, a consumer from the Kallyanpur area of the capital, said that she chooses UHT milk to save her time.
Abdul Barek, another consumer from the same area said that there is a downside of UHT milk, as it is more expensive than the regular pasteurized variety.