Roslina Verauli, Tanti, Aiska Vairana, Ersa Mayori and her husband Otto Satria Jauhari raise a glass of milk in toast after a discussion on milk consumption in Indonesia on Monday (20/03). (Photo courtesy of Iris Worldwide)

Indonesians Don't Drink Enough Milk: Study


MARCH 26, 2017

Jakarta. Indonesians consume less milk every year than their neighbors in Southeast Asia, a recent study said.

The 2014 study by Nielsen shows every Indonesian drinks on average only about 12 liters of milk per year.

"This is equal to three spoonfuls of milk per person per day," Hardinsyah, a nutritionist and chairman of the Association of Nutritionists and Food Experts in Indonesia (Pergizi), said during a discussion hosted by Frisian Flag Indonesia in Jakarta on Monday (20/03).

The same study shows that Malaysians consume around 36 liters of milk per person per year, Thais around 22 liters and Vietnamese around 20 liters.

A number of factors contribute to the low rate of milk consumption in Indonesia. One of them is a belief that drinking milk is only for babies and toddlers.

"This is so wrong," Hardinsyah said. "Milk is a complete package; it contains vitamins, minerals and proteins that benefit us at every stage of our life."

For children and teenagers, the fat and amino acid in the milk will help boost their growth.

"Studies show that kids who drink milk daily grow taller and develop better cognition," the professor said.

For adults, the proteins and amino acids in the milk help to maintain their hormonal balance.

The calcium and Vitamin D in milk also help to prevent osteoporosis in old age.

Negative reinforcement in the family is another reason why Indonesians don't drink enough milk. According to psychologist Roslina Verauli, Indonesian parents often push children to drink it as a sort of health drink rather than something that tastes good and is good for you.

"The result, many children think of drinking milk as an unpleasant experience," Roslina said. "And they will stop drinking it as soon as they could help it."

Indonesian children also rarely see adults in their families drinking milk.

"Many kids believe drinking milk is just a phase they will grow out of," the psychologist said.

Changing these perceptions to get more Indonesians to drink milk has been hard. But it has not stopped milk producer Frisian Flag from kicking off a campaign to encourage Indonesian families to dedicate a special time each day to drink milk together.

"This way kids will associate drinking milk with togetherness and a good time. They will continue to drink milk once they've grown up and pass on the habit to their own children," Tanti, the head of prepared beverages at Frisian Flag Indonesia, said.

The company has hired actress, model and presenter Ersa Mayori and her family to inspire other Indonesian families to start enjoying drinking milk.

"My husband and I love to drink milk," Ersa said. "We learn the habit from our own parents; they also loved drinking milk. Our own children naturally copy our habit."

Her oldest daughter, Aiska Vairana, said she has already seen the benefits of drinking milk regularly.

"I'm only 12, but I'm already taller than my mom," Aiska said. "That's the result of drinking milk every day, I believe."