Overview Of Dairy Products

Dairy products may be defined as food products based on milk developed through a variety of manufacturing methods and fluid milk itself. There are several animal sources of milk, including the cow, water buffalo, goat, and sheep, that are commonly used sources.

In the 10 year period from 1987 to 1997, the production of milk has increased by approximately 15 billion lb to 155 billion lb, with 60% of the milk used to create other dairy products. The percent use of milk products to make other dairy products increased by 2% during that period. Total cheese production, excluding cottage cheese, was 7.33 billion lb in 1997, an annual increase of 2%. Wisconsin was the leading state for cheese product, with 29% of the total production. By far the most popular types of cheese are the American varieties, which include mainly cheddar. Cottage cheese is produced by far more plants in the United States (332) and represents production of 1.2 billion lb. Butter production has been declining; in 1997 production was recorded at 1.2 billion lb, a decrease of 2% from 1996. California, at 27% of butter production, was slightly ahead of Wisconsin, at 26%. Table 1 represents the statistics for production of various dairy products in the United States during 1997.

In discussing the nature of the flavors of these products it is natural to organize the discussion based on the types of products manufactured. Based on the major groups of products, there are four distinct areas that will be discussed. They are fluid milk and milk products (dried and canned), milk-derived products (yogurt and similar types of fermented milk products and ice cream), butter, and cheeses.

Milk and Milk Products

These products are minimally processed. Typically they may be reduced in fat, have the fat suspended (homogenized), or be heat treated. The heat-processing step may vary in its time/temperature relationship to assure a safe

Table 1. Dairy Product Production in the United States for 1997
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