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#About Japanese Milk

Types of Milk and Dairy Products

Dairy products are made by utilising the characteristics of raw milk and include cheese, butter, yoghurt, cream, condensed milk, ice cream, powdered milk and probiotic drinks.
Originally, dairy products were made through natural processes such as fermentation and maturation.
Now, continuous efforts on research are made to develop a wide variety of dairy products.

Dairy products are made by processing raw milk in various ways.
For example, cheese is made by adding rennet (an enzyme from the stomach of the calf that hardens milk) and starter (lactic acid bacteria) to raw milk, separating it into card (a mass of casein) and whey (water) and removing the whey.

Butter is made by churning cream made from raw milk and other materials, after which collected fat grains are kneaded and pressed.
Yoghurt is made by fermenting raw milk and other ingredients with lactic acid bacteria and yeast. In addition to its well-known bowel regulating effect, it also helps prevent lifestyle-related diseases such as by controlling cholesterol level and blood pressure. Fresh cream is made by centrifuging raw milk and collecting fat globules with light specific gravity, while ice cream is made by adding sugar, emulsifiers and flavourings to the cream or milk, whipping it at low temperature and allowing it to harden. Probiotic drinks often seen in convenience stores are made by fermenting milk and other ingredients with lactic acid bacteria and yeast, and adding sugar, flavourings and fruit extracts.

Most of these dairy products are produced using domestic raw milk. In 2022, Japan's domestic milk production was approximately 7.53 million tonnes, of which about 53% was for drinking purposes, while the remaining 47% was for dairy products such as skimmed milk powder, butter, fresh cream and cheese. Dairy products are produced particularly in Hokkaido.
Domestic raw milk is used in the following order: (i) for drinking; (ii) for cream and cheese; (iii) for skimmed milk powder and butter, with priority given to products with a shorter shelf life.
Therefore, the amount of skimmed milk powder and butter produced and stocked is affected by changes in milk production as well as demand for milk and cream.