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Brief Published: 25 Jun 2014

Emerging Superfood: Camel Milk

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Desert Farms camel milk

As consumers seek healthier and lactose-free alternatives to bovine-derived dairy, camel milk – traditionally imbibed by nomadic Bedouins and praised for its healing and nutritional benefits – is emerging as a popular commercial option.

In June, US supermarket chain Whole Foods started retailing US-based raw camel milk brand Desert Farms, which is sourced from Amish farms in Ohio and Pennsylvania. "It's the ultimate superfood," claims Desert Farms president Walid Abdul-Wahab.

Research from Cairo University in Egypt suggests the beverage – which contains triple the vitamins and 10 times the iron of regular milk – can help patients with diabetes. It is also gaining advocacy as a homeopathic remedy for autism and heart disease.

Dubai-based café chain Cafe2Go was an early adopter of the ingredient, developing a menu of camel-milk products that include a Camel Chino (cappuccino), gelato and cheese dish. In 2013, the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Abu Dhabi appointed a "camel-milk mixologist" to conjure milkshakes and iced lattes. The hotel uses Dubai-produced (and internationally retailed) Camelicious bottled camel milk.

In a recent report advocating the need for alternative dairy products such as camel milk, the UN food agency says that milk from animals such as donkeys, moose, reindeer and yaks should be maximised to meet the increase in consumer demand for dairy products around the world.

For more on non-dairy alternatives, see Drinks Developments: Non-Alcohol. Looking beyond the dairy industry, see Charting New Waters for new derivations of H20 that are shaking up category expectations.

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