Milk is back in fashion and who loves it most - the Welsh of course!!

Milk is back in fashion and helping it along is a fast growing cafe culture and a change in diets, with the result that milk sales are on the rise for the first time in 30 years.

According to figures from the Milk Development Council, Brits are buying more milk than at any time since the 1970s and Wales is leading the way.

The increased demand for continental coffee and a rise in shops serving lattes, which use more milk, could well be part of the explanation, but even so some farmers in one of Wales' main dairy counties, Carmarthenshire, are still not happy, mainly because of the prices they are paid for their milk.

Twenty years ago, the county was home to four creameries supporting more than 1,000 jobs, but the final one at Llangadog will shut next month.

Dairy farmer Brian Walters, who turned to organic farming seven years ago, says despite this, things are on the up and up.

Walters says that purchasers are demanding more from the organic sector than a year ago, and organic farmers were now receive around 22p a litre compared to conventional farmers who were only receiving 16 to 17p a litre.

Walters commends the Milk Development Council for the promotional work they have done especially in schools and is pleased that there is more demand for milk but hopes it will be reflected in an increase in the price.

He sees a future in dairy farming in west Wales in the next decade but with fewer but larger dairy farms.

Researchers for the Milk Development Council found the increase in sales in Wales was due to people drinking more tea and coffee and eating more cereals and porridge. The growth in the number of U.S. style coffee houses in recent years which have appeared in greater numbers on the streets of towns and cities has also been a contributing factor.

A national coffee chain is yet to move into Carmarthen, but the Gatehouse Coffee House which opened at the start of the year, is according to owner Beverly Dunn 'going the American way'. She doubts they could have successfully opened such an enterprise five or 10 years ago there, and says their main custom comes from shoppers, business people and business lunches.

People, says Dunn, are acquiring the taste for continental coffees because of the American influence and because they are more travelled and more adventurous.

Liz Broadbent of the Milk Development Council says the increase in sales is worth around £4m to the UK's dairy farmers, and it reflects the industry's move away from generic promotions, like the dancing milk bottle advertisements, and towards targeting specific products at specific goods.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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