Different ways of drinking milk and milkshakes around the world
Humans are the only animals that continue to drink milk after the lactation period. No other mammal does this in nature. And the reason we do so? Undoubtedly because of the different flavours and textures of milk and milkshakes. We do not consume them as much for their nutritional values as for the sensations they provoke.
The sensory effects of milk and milkshakes in the Far East
Japan surprises us yet again with its uses and customs. In the Western world breakfast is practically inconceivable without a cup of white coffee, cocoa with milk, or cereals with milk. In Japan, things are very different. There breakfast is a full meal like the others, based on rice, fish, eggs and other sources of protein. The flavours of milk are combined with these distinctive breakfasts.
The Japanese have developed milkshakes that integrate Western customs into the most traditional local flavours. Thus, young Japanese like green tea smoothies with a yogurt base. It is a way of giving this traditional drink a new identity. The younger Japanese generations have turned the national drink into something new that represents them and differentiates them from previous generations.
China is a reference when it comes to finding products similar to milk and milkshakes. Rice is the basis of the country’s diet. So, of course, rice milk plays a fundamental role in the local food. The Chinese consume far less milk and milkshakes than in the West. In a country with little tradition of dairy farming, it is estimated that about 90% of the population is lactose intolerant. All the same, the country has fallen in love with cheese tea.
Lassi was already consumed in India in 1000 BC. It is a very hydrating drink based on yogurt or whipped milk to which cardamom and mango are added, as well as sugar to taste. Sweet and refreshing, it is ideal for summer and has become popular in European capitals thanks to its presence on the menus of most Indian restaurants. Traditionally it was used to combat stomach complaints.
Turkey and the Middle East
Ayran is a drink consumed under different names in most of the countries in the Middle East and its composition is very similar in all of them. Yogurt made from sheep’s milk and water is flavoured with a few drops of lemon. The texture is thick and the taste really surprising, especially for travellers who try it in regions where mint, salt or ground garlic are added. It is usually consumed as a side dish at mealtimes.
Milk and milkshakes as healthy foods
The perception of milkshakes as healthy foods has led to the proliferation of versions made with products that were not traditionally used in this type of beverage. Thus, fruit and vegetable shakes prepared on the spot are already commercialized in the United States and the English-speaking market in general. There are already franchises whose star product is the smoothie. The consumers like them for the wide variety of flavours, especially the sweet ones. Most of them are obtained from tropical fruits such as coconut, mango and different types of passion fruit. The producers underscore their hydrating effects. It is a formula that the big brands have started to bottle for direct selling.
The sensory qualities of milk and milkshakes reach the pleasure centre of the brain. The creaminess of milk and the colours of traditional flavours such as strawberry or chocolate make these foods powerful antidepressants. Even if this is only a placebo effect. An effect derived from the consumer’s perception of food.