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Carnism

October 19, 2020 - BBC

Why China developed a fresh taste for milk

Why China developed a fresh taste for milk
Milk MachineCredit: We Animals Media

For many generations, Chinese adults mostly ignored milk, seeing it as a food for children or the elderly. And there’s a biological reason why it took so long to catch on.

China’s appetite for milk has exploded in recent years. The nation of nearly 1.4 billion people is now the world’s second largest consumer of dairy products, and imports are flying over the border, with dairies from New Zealand to Germany topping off the behemoth’s demands for milk.

An intriguing little detail in all this frothy commerce is that many people in China, like much of Asia, are lactose intolerant. Human children produce an enzyme that allows them to digest milk, but in much of the world, its levels taper off as they grow up.

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