Organic Milk--Is it Worth the Price?

Organic milk: Is it really worth the price?

(Webinar length:  1h 8m)

Overview

A fairly new niche in the dairy case at the grocery store is organic milk, as well as organic dairy foods produced from organic milk. In the U.S. organic milk is produced on organic dairy farms according to the USDA organic practices. Organic milk currently sells at a higher price than conventional milk at the grocery store. Consumers that purchase organic milk are willing to pay this significantly higher price because they believe organic milk to be superior to conventional milk. Unscientific consumer surveys have reported organic milk to be more nutritious, taste better (creamier), ‘free of hormones’ and antibiotics, and have a longer shelf life due to its higher quality. Organic milk also has more desirable environmental attributes. However, most consumers have very little knowledge of how milk is produced, processed and distributed to the retail stores. Over the years organic milk labeling and claims have been controversial in that milk processors making label claims that describe management of the cows (which include grazing of animals on pasture, nonuse of rbST, or antibiotics) imply that this milk is better, more nutritious or produced in a more desirable manner environmentally . Studies have reported higher concentrations of protein, polyunsaturated and conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) in retail organic milk compared with conventional retail milk, and differences in fatty acid profiles of milks from different production systems. However, folate (an important B vitamin in pregnancy) concentrations are reported to be less in organic milk due to the higher frequency of ultra-high temperature (UHT) processing of organic milk. This presentation will provide a brief background on production and distribution of organic milk and will focus on the current scientific knowledge on the nutritional aspects and sensory attributes of organic milk as compared to conventional milk.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the appeal of organic milk to the consumer
  • Gain an understanding of production practices of organic milk
  • Understand distribution and processing differences between organic and conventional milk
  • Understand the nutritional differences, and their origin
  • Health benefits or organic milk – Are they real?
  • Do benefits of organic milk justify the cost?

 

Who will benefit:

  • Food scientists and technologists
  • Product developers
  • Purchasing managers
  • Dieticians, nutritionists
  • Other health experts
  • Advertising managers
  • Market researchers, marketing managers
  • Labeling experts
  • Public relation and public information teams

 

Presenter--Dr. Zeynep Ustunol

Dr. Zey Ustunol is a Professor of Food Science and Human at Michigan State University. She received her B.S. and M.S. degrees from Utah State University in Food Science. She completed her PhD degree in Food Science with a minor in Biochemistry at University of Kentucky. After a two year postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Animal Science at University of Kentucky, she joined the faculty in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Michigan State University as an Assistant Professor of Dairy Processing/Chemistry. Her current research is focused on enhancing the value of dairy and dairy-based products: 1) Investigating alternate uses for milk components and 2) Enhancing nutritional quality of existing dairy foods. She has published 58 scientific peered-reviewed research articles, 2 book chapters, 1 patent and over 100 abstracts and technical reports. Dr. Ustunol is the 2002 recipient of the Fulbright Senior Research Scholar Award of New Zealand, and the 2005 recipient of American Dairy Science Association Milk Industry Foundation Outstanding Teaching Award. During 2004 – 2008 she served as the Senior Editor of the Journal of Dairy Science. She now serves on the Review Panel of the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars for the Fulbright Awards.

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