Al Ain Dairy said it had launched the first camel milk ice cream in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), positioning the product as a healthy alternative to other ice cream products.
Camel’s milk has long been considered healthy in the Arab world, but discussion on its commercial potential has increased in recent years.
Al Ain, which has set up a camel farm and processing facility, said its new ice cream would be available in supermarkets and petrol stations in chocolate, caramel and strawberry flavours.
Weight watchers targeted
The group has targeted weight watchers by highlighting that camel milk ice cream contains only 2,5 percent fat, compared to between six and nine percent for standard ice creams.
It added that camel milk ice cream was safe for consumers with lactose intolerance, and contained three times more vitamin C than cow’s milk.
One would still get much more vitamin C from fruit and vegetables, but it is health benefits like this that have seen camel’s milk capture more attention in dairy circles.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said recently that camel’s milk had strong potential with millions of consumers across Africa, Europe and the Americas.
The FAO was instrumental in developing the first camel milk cheese, dubbed 'camelbert', in 1992. Since then, camel milk chocolate has appeared, while an Israeli scientist, professor Reuven Yagil, reportedly developed a camel milk ice cream in 1999.
Latest dairy trends
Low-fat dairy, such as semi-skimmed and skimmed milk, has taken market share off full-fat products in several western markets.
This trend has been particularly visible for ice cream in Europe over the last few months, with three large firms, including Unilever and ingredients group Danisco, announcing new low fat products.
Camel’s milk, as well as being low in fat, also contains vitamin B, iron and unsaturated fatty acids.
Its nutritional value has led to a range of health claims. One small study, released by the Camel Applied Research and Development Network, found camel’s milk could help treat type 1 diabetes.
Some doctors and researchers have also said camel’s milk may help treat a range of other illnesses, including ulcers, tuberculosis and even breast cancer.
More studies will be needed, however, to bring some of these claims out of regional folklore. - (Decision News Media, August 2006)
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