China Drinks Its Milk

CHINA - China's growing love of dairy products is threatening to push UK prices up. But why are the Chinese drinking more milk and why does it affect the whole world?
calendar icon 8 August 2007
clock icon 1 minute read

It used to be said that when America sneezes, the world catches a cold, but the expression is being increasingly tailored to the rise of China.

Rarely a week passes when some new phenomenon related to the growth of the eastern giant is not remarked upon. In the globalised economy, fads in the most populous nation can cause seismic shifts elsewhere.

And this link is why rising consumption of dairy products in China could cause the price of a supermarket pizza and a host of other items in the UK to rise.

The Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao says he has a dream. And this dream sounds like something from a 1950s public education film.

"I have a dream to provide every Chinese, especially children, sufficient milk each day."

Catching up

Specifically, he wants to make sure everyone gets one jin, or half a kilogram, which is a fair amount for a nation usually characterised as lactose intolerant.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, China's consumption of milk has gone from 26 kilocalories per person per day in 2002 to 43 in 2005. Westerners consume many times more, but their demand is stable.

Source: BBC News
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