Milk has first been used exclusively for breeding young mammals. From the beginning of animal domestication milk is being used in many ways for human’s purposes.
The main nutritional function of milk is to supply proteins, minerals and in particular calcium.
Animal domestication has allowed for milk to be regularly consumed, man learning soon afterwards how to make cheese as milk curdles naturally.
Today milk production is particularly important in Europe and North America whereas it keeps increasing in other parts of the world. The world consumption of milk is highly uneven, the developed countries consuming an average of 156 kg per head and year, the developing countries only 38 kg. Cow milk is by far the most consumed in the world.
Many cheese varieties are being produced around the world. In France only, one could eat a different cheese variety every day during more than one year.
The dairy products conservation and manufacturing techniques owe much to Louis Pasteur, the pasteurization being now a very popular procedure.
The agro-business nowadays offers many products : cheeses, yoghourts, flans, ice creams, a great variety of desserts.
Milk has a great symbolic value. It is source of life and is even used as a sign of welcome in some countries.
World's food | Agropolis-Museum