Got Camel Milk? Indians Are Waking Up to this Superfood
As far as types of milk go, camel milk firmly lay in the exotic category. In India, nomadic tribes of Rajasthan and Kutch have long known the medicinal benefits of the milk from the queen of the desert. It has something to do with the sturdy animal’s diet. Thousands of herbs found in the desert have been recognized to have medicinal value.
Now, it’s been ‘discovered’ by the West, and we are rediscovering it here in India. The demand is rising and American reality star, Kim Kardashian may have played a small role in it.
The nomads are probably shaking their head in disbelief. Specially, at the premium cost the milk is sold at.
Camel Milk in Indian Market
A quick search on any e-commerce platform throws up several camel milk products. Frozen milk, milk powder, chocolates, soaps, beauty products. The one brand that stands out is Aadvik Foods. They were the first company to launch camel milk in India, beating out the giant Amul to the market.
A civil engineer from Bikaner, Hitesh Rathi came up with the idea for a business that was truly unique a few years ago. He started out small, sourcing camel milk from local breeders and marketing it in Delhi. He says he was his first delivery boy.
I would go from Gurgaon to Noida delivering milk to those who placed orders with us. Being the first to the market, we had a tough job at hand. First, educating people about the benefits of drinking camel milk, and then convincing them to pay a premium cost for it.Hitesh Rathi, Founder, Aadvik Foods
Hitesh doesn’t run around being a delivery boy anymore.
Aadvik Foods has set up two processing units, one in Rajasthan and one in Kutch and they are present on every e-commerce site in India. They procure 6000 litres of camel milk a month. One kg of milk powder, made using the freeze drying technique, is sold at Rs 6300 per kg.
Amul maybe late to this party, but when it starts its camel milk processing plant at the Sarhad Dairy in Kutch in 2-3 months, it may just change the game.
Amul’s camel chocolates have already flooded the markets.
Our plant has a capacity of processing 10-15000 litres of camel milk a day. Storing and processing camel milk is not all that different from cow’s milk and it has a similar shelf life. We see it as a premium milk with therapeutic qualities and we’ll market it as such.R S Sodhi, Managing Director, GCMMF Ltd.
The liquid milk will be sold in bottles and pouches, not in powder form. Mr Sodhi doesn’t tell us at what cost the milk will be sold at, but knowing their distribution ability, their entry will certainly bring the price down.
A lot depends upon how much awareness about the benefits of camel milk can be generated in the Indian market.
Health Benefits of Camel Milk
Camel milk is particularly beneficial for those with diabetes because of its ability to reduce levels of glycated haemoglobin in the blood, according to a research published in the Emirates Journal of Food and Culture.
Another study that researched all the previous studies done on diabetes and camel milk, emphasized its role in reducing blood sugar, decreasing insulin resistance and improving lipid profiles.
According to several research papers, the antibodies present in the milk, much like human milk, help build immunity and protect against infections.
Camel milk has five times the vitamin C and 10 times the iron as cow’s milk, as reported in The Washington Post.
Camel milk is believed to have less fat and cholesterol than cow's milk.
Finally, it does not contain whey protein that causes lactose intolerance and allergies in people.
There are more benefits attributed to the camel milk, but not enough research has been done to support or harness its medicinal properties. Those who’ve tasted the milk say it tastes saltier than your regular milk.
Are you willing to give it a shot?