How to buy milk and dairy products

Dairy products do not only live on calcium. Learn what milk and its derivatives provide us nutritionally, its multiple varieties and the keys to wisely choosing the most suitable ones for you and how to preserve them.

How much milk and dairy products should you drink and where to buy them

For many, milk , in any of its many versions, or dairy products ( yogurts, cheeses , butter…) are the first food with which we start the day. Sometimes, they are even the last thing we put in our stomach before going to bed. However, in recent years its consumption has suffered various fluctuations. Below we are going to analyze these basic products in our daily diet, from their consumption recommendations, what their different varieties give us nutritionally, where to find them and how to choose the most suitable ones for you.

Dairy consumption recommendations

The recommendations of the main reference organizations continue to include milk and dairy products as commonly consumed foods. The NAOS Pyramid published in 2008 by the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality recommends daily consumption. And the  SENC’s 2015 Healthy Nutrition Pyramid is committed to consuming 2-3 servings daily.

Although according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment (MAPAMA), milk consumption has decreased by 18% since 2004, each Spaniard consumes more than 73 liters of milk each year. And practically all of it – 71 liters – is sterilized milk, the typical tetra brick type.

In the case of dairy products, the path has been the opposite: we now consume 16% more than in 2004, up to 35 kilograms per person (most of it in the form of fermented milk and yogurt .

So as milk and dairy products continue to be ubiquitous products in our shopping basket, let’s see what we should look for when choosing the most appropriate ones.

Where to buy dairy products

Although 73% of milk and 71% of dairy products are sold in supermarkets and hypermarkets, you may be surprised to know that they are not the only establishments where you can find them.

Given the drop in milk prices and the demands of the distribution sector, farmers are betting on new ways of marketing their dairy products. You can find producers who sell milk directly to the final consumer.

Most of them sell heat-treated (usually pasteurized) milk , but you may find some farms that sell raw milk and wonder if it is an allowed practice. The sale of raw milk is allowed if it meets certain requirements, but later you will see that it is not a recommended option for health reasons.

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Other farmers have signed up to sell pasteurized milk through vending machines . They are not available throughout the country, but they are having success as a way to reach the consumer directly, avoiding intermediaries (in addition to recovering the nostalgic moment when the milkman brought the bottles of fresh milk home).

Artisanal milk and dairy products can also be found in cooperatives , dairies or retail establishments . And you have surely seen cheese and yogurt stands in street markets and local fairs (they are generally small productions that do not move through alternative distribution chains).

Even the Internet is being consolidated as a means of distribution for these products that can reach everywhere and avoid depending on large distribution chains.

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