Major dairy firms and convenience store operators are coming up with unique ways to spur consumption of milk in Japan, amid fears that a large amount of raw milk may be discarded over the year-end and New Year period due to a temporary glut.
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[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Production of raw milk, which is influenced by the growth of dairy cows, spiked this year thanks to the cool summer.

On the other hand, consumption dropped due to a decline in demand from many restaurants hit by the novel coronavirus crisis. The slump in demand is expected to become worse in the year-end and New Year period as schools offering milk for lunches close for their winter break.

Despite the supply-demand imbalance, it is difficult for farmers to adjust production volume as dairy cows need to be milked every day to prevent illnesses. “Without any measures, 5,000 tons of raw milk may be discarded at the end of the year,” agriculture minister Genjiro Kaneko said.

The dairy industry is hoping to deal with the situation by not only promoting consumption of milk but also increasing production of butter and cheese, which have relatively longer shelf lives than milk. Megmilk Snow Brand Co. <2270> is distributing milk for free along with flyers encouraging consumption of dairy products at places including a Snowbrand Parlor cafe in Sapporo, the capital of the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido.

A former Fonterra consultant and a molecular biologist have teamed up to create lab-grown milk proteins without the need for a cow.

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