Have you ever wondered why some milk powder brands cost more than others? I’m sure you have. It is also likely that you have come up with possible reasons, from “Nigerian made” versus “imported” to “the cheaper one ‘contains’ less”, and left it at that.
Of course, there’s a lot to be said for quality. There are brands that arguably have earned the right to demand more money because they have put in above average levels of quality control and nutritional value. Most people who buy these brands do so without complaining because they know what they’re paying for and they get their money’s worth.
However, the one MAJOR difference between milk powder brands that I never considered before last weekend, is that not all “powdered milk” is the same- and it doesn’t have to do with the company.
For instance, the preferred brand in my home is Dano. One day, I realised that Dano Cool Cow was cheaper than the Dano Full Cream Milk Powder I had been buying, so we switched to that. Of course at the back of my mind, I knew it was cheaper for a reason but I refused to think about it. After all, it’s the same Dano.
Then late last year, the supermarket I’m loyal to put the 500g Dano Full Cream Milk Powder we used to buy on the “buy one, get one free” shelf. Apparently, people had not been buying it and it had to go before it expired. I bought several packs and got several free. My people, I had an epiphany! My motto changed from powdered milk na powdered milk to powdered milk pass powdered milk!
Oh, I was reminded of the true goodness of milk. My taste buds understood deeply why this Dano Full Cream Milk Powder was more expensive than Dano Cool Cow, but my mind did not… yet.
Over the weekend, I was talking with a friend who works at Friesland Campina (makers of Peak Milk and Three Crowns Milk) and the topic came up. I finally learnt that what makes the difference is not so much the brand you’re buying as whether you’re buying Full Cream Milk or Filled Milk. The latter is reconstituted with substitute fats from sources other than dairy cows.
I realized I have no business comparing names and prices randomly. The difference between the Peak Milk we know and the Cowbell Milk we know is not merely the name or price; they are not even the same thing at all. And it’s clearly written on the packs if we would only look.
I paid attention at the store subsequently and learnt that what Arla Foods does using the same “family name” – Dano Full Cream Milk Powder and Dano Cool Cow Instant Filled Milk Powder – is what Friesland does using unrelated names – Peak Full Cream Milk, and Three Crowns Instant Filled Milk. Promasidor also toes the same line with Loya and Cowbell. One full cream milk and one filled milk. Same company.
Nestlé Nigeria can decide at any time to make a filled milk powder, which will be less expensive than the Nido Full Cream we know. In fact, Friesland can decide to make Peak Filled Milk Powder despite the fact that they already have a filled milk brand- Three Crowns.
The bottom line? Full cream milk powder is creamier, tastes better, is more nutritious, and generally costs more. Filled milk powder is not as creamy, not as nutritious, and it’s generally cheaper.
So next time you’re at the store, know why you’re spending more or less. Are you consciously paying for the actual product you’re getting, or are you just influenced by packaging and advertising?