Given that according to some definition of lactose intolerant, perhaps as much as 90% or more of the Japanese population are lactose intolerant, and seven years ago over 14,000 Japanese drank staphylococcus-infected milk, one might expect to find relatively few milk-drinkers in Japan. However, this recent survey from DIMSDRIVE Research into milk (and one previously on fermented milk products) suggests that the answer to Do the Japanese drink milk? is Yes indeed!
Between the 17th and 25th of October 2007 7,517 members of the DIMSDRIVE Monitor group toop part in a private internet-based questionnaire. 54.0% of the sample was female, 1.0% in their teens, 14.7% in their twenties, 33.0% in their thirties, 30.8% in their forties, 14.6% in their fifties, and 5.9% in their sixties. In addition, 13.1% lived alone, 22.8% in a two-person household, 25.0% in a three-person household, 24.8% in a four-person household, and 14.3% in a five or more-person household. 6.2% had an oldest child aged between 0 and 1, 5.5% with an oldest child aged between 2 and 3, 5.2% with an oldest child aged between 4 and preschool, 11.6% with an oldest child in elementary school, 5.5% with an oldest child in middle school, 18.9% with an oldest child in high school or above and still living at home, and 47.1% had no children living with them.
In the summer I drink milk over cereal, but in the winter it’s usually limited to just an ingredient in stews or cakes. When buying, I want to make the decision on price alone; usually the cheapest non-house brand so I don’t appear too stingy, although the wife usually has other ideas when she comes shopping with me.
Q4: Where do you usually buy milk? (Sample size=6,544, multiple answer)
Supermarket 88.9% Convenience store 20.4% Co-operative 15.4% Drugstore 9.3% Discount store, home centre 7.9% Home delivery 5.9% 100 yen shop 5.4% Vending machine 1.7% Sento public bath 1.2% Station, other kiosk 0.9% Direct from the farm 0.4% Internet shopping 0.4% Mobile shop 0.2% Other delivery 0.1% Other 0.6% Don’t buy it myself (to Q6) 1.3%
Q4SQ1: What is important when buying milk? (Sample size=6,460, multiple answer)
Price 66.2% Taste 47.8% Sell-by date 35.3% Volume 23.4% Semi-skimmed, fully-skimmed 23.3% Maker, brand 21.9% Unpasturised, processed 20.4% Rich in calcium, iron, etc 14.4% Package (paper pack, bottle) 10.4% Sterilisation method 9.0% Area of production 8.9% Package design 3.3% Other 0.6% Nothing in particular 5.1%
Q4SQ2: When buying milk, which of the following describe your way of thinking? (Sample size=6,460, multiple answer)
Frequently buy a specific brand 40.9% Decide which brand to buy at the shop, other location 39.6% Select a cheap one 38.4% Want to try various brands 17.5% Try to buy most new products once 8.0% Select a brand with health-related function 6.8% Select a good-selling brand 5.0% Select premium, high-price brands 3.1% Select brands with package design I like 2.6% Select brands whose advertisements I like 1.8% None of the above 3.8%
The next question is for those from Q2 who drink milk rarely or never.
Q5: Why do you rarely or never drink milk? (Sample size=973, multiple answer)
Don’t like the taste 40.5% Don’t like the smell 38.1% Stomach can’t handle it 28.1% Don’t feel it’s necessary to drink it 18.7% Doesn’t suit my body 12.2% Seems high calorie 5.1% Seems high fat 4.6% Have had a food poisoning experience with it 3.0% Seems high cholestoral 3.0% Allergic 2.5% Other 7.8% No particular reason 16.1%
One of the other reasons for not drinking was being a vegetarian.
Q6: Does your youngest child (from over 2 years old to the end of elementary school) drink milk at home? (Sample size=1,677)
Often drinks 61.3% Sometimes drinks 26.4% Never, almost never drinks 11.7% Don’t know 0.6%
Q7: What techniques do you use to get your youngest child (from over 2 years old to the end of elementary school) to drink milk at home? (Sample size=1,677, multiple answer)
Rank Method Votes 1 Make cocoa 157 2 Make hot milk 73 3 Serve over cereal 69 4 Mix with Milo 65 5 Make cafe au lait 62 6 Mix with MilMake 40 7 Mix with sugar 32 8 Serve as Fruche 22 9 Make milk tea 21 10 Mix into stew, soup 20 11= Just as cold milk 18 11= Make banana milk 18 11= Use in cooking 18 14= Make strawberry milk 15 14= Other 15 16 Make cakes 13 17= Mix with Calpis 11 17= Mix with honey 11 17= Mix with other sweetener 11 17= Try to make it a habit for them 11 17= Tell them it’s for growth, for health, etc 11
Q8: When you were a child, how much milk did you drink? Give your own subjective opinion. (Sample size=7,282)
Lots and lots 12.5% Quite a bit 25.0% About average 34.7% Not very much 23.7% None at all 4.1%
Younger people considered they drunk more than average more than older people. Just over 50% of men in their twenties and just under 50% of women of the same age rated themselves as heavy drinkers as children, whereas only 20% of men and 12% of women over 60 thought they drunk more than average.
Interestingly, looking at quantity by height, over half the men over 185 cm tall and 30% of those between 180 to 185 cm said they drunk lots and lots as children, whereas just 6% of those under 165 cm tall thought they drunk a lot. This trend was not as marked with women