Jun 11, 2019

What's inside packaged milkshakes?

Over the past year or so, there has been a rise in the number of packaged milkshake brands that are being launched in India. At the same time, I also notice the proliferation of milkshake outlets in every nook and corner of Bangalore - Frozen Bottle, Keventers etc. 

What are the factors influencing the growth of milk-based beverages market? What's the growth rate of milk production in the country? How is the local demand trending? Are people shifting from packaged fruit juices to packaged milkshakes/flavored yoghurts etc? Or is it because of flat or declining export demands? Something worth exploring.

As part of my daily news updates, I go through fnbnews to learn about new product launches. I came across this launch announcement a few days back - ITC launches dairy beverages SunFeast Wonderz milk in 4 variants. 

A Bigbasket search for milkshakes shows up at least 7-8 brands of milkshakes with many variants, all of them with the usual promise of "high protein / high calcium / added vitamins & minerals". But a peek into the ingredients list and nutrition facts will clearly show how every single brand is loaded with sugar. Here's a quick comparison of the popular brands.

1. As you can see, each brand contains around 5-6 tsp of sugar per pack. Do note that the nutrition facts table shows values per 100 ml whereas the pack size is either 180ml / 200 ml. We need to be conscious of this fact.

2. The shelf life of all these packs is close to 6 months. How does milk stay fit for consumption for 6 months? Obviously, there are various additives added to increase the shelf life - emulsifiers, stabilizers etc.
3. I have only looked at the vanilla flavors of these brands. The fruit flavors have hardly any real fruit pulp but contain many synthetic food colors and artificial flavors. For example, Sunfeast Wonderz fruit n milk mango flavor emphasizes "mango pulp and bits" in the front label but if you look at the ingredients, mango pulp is ONLY 4% and mango bits are 2.5%. The yellow color comes from synthetic food colors - INS 102 and INS 110.

4. Paperboat uses this tagline "drinks and memories" but I don't remember our mothers/grandmothers adding xanthan gum/guar gum/carrageenan to our milkshakes. Let's not fall for such emotional traps (nostalgia, guilt, fear) being used extensively in marketing these days. 

Most of us have a mixer/blender at home. Let's make milkshakes at home IF we want to drink them. Totally not worth buying these tetra packs of sugar, synthetic colours, artificial flavors and additives.

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