Before you immediately reject the idea of sampling camel milk, hear the experts out. "Tell them I like it!" NPR correspondent Shaina Shealy told her interpreter to fib in her article about the burgeoning camel milk industry in India. Clearly, camel milk is an acquired taste. Even in India, few outside the district of Kutch and its community of camel herders drink the milk.
Its taste is "fatty, sour, and salty." A bit like "like gamey butter," according to Shealy. There are many within the region even who grew up consuming this dairy product and cannot stomach it raw.
Why Camel Milk?
However, Amul, one of India's largest dairy brands, hopes to change the perception of camel milk. They plan to begin mass marketing the product to the Indian population at large.
How are they going to persuade millions of people to suddenly change their taste buds? Well, it turns out that there may be a link between consuming camel's milk and the management of Type1 diabetes, which is on the rise throughout India.
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Among those that have been consuming the milk for centuries, there are stories of using this unusual milk to effectively manage diabetes in a region where medication can often be hard to access.
Camel Milk Helps a Traditional Industry Thrive
The other notable benefit of mass marketing this milk will be the increase in work for the maldharis, the traditional camel herders. In recent years, government-imposed restrictions on grazing lands, a decline in camel transport, and the encroachment of mining into camel pastures has decreased the size of the maldharis' herds significantly.
Amul hopes to help alleviate some of the poverty that these changes have caused by purchasing camel milk from the herders at twice the market value.
We can only hope that the population at large enjoys camel ice cream and camel milk chocolate.