Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page


Comparison of consumer attitude towards and acceptance of goat, sheep and cow milk in Malawi - Composition, production et acceptation du lait de caprins et d'ovins non laitiers au Malawi


Abstract
Résumé
Introduction
Experimental method
Results
Discussion
Acknowledgements
References

J.W. Banda
University of Malawi
Banda College of Agriculture
Lilongwe, Malawi

Abstract

Two sets of questionnaires were administered to 206 individuals at three locations in Salima District, Central Malawi, in order to evaluate and compare consumer attitude and acceptance of goat and sheep milk relative to identically prepared cow's milk. One hundred and seventy-two goat farmers around Bunda College, Lilongwe, Central Malawi, were also included in the study to assess their general attitude towards the consumption of goat milk.

About 38% and 4% of the respondents in Salima had tasted or consumed goat and sheep milk, respectively, compared to 24% for goat milk at Lilongwe. Unavailability was the major factor (P<0.001) influencing the attitudes of the people towards consumption of goat and sheep milk in Salima followed by the fact that it is not traditional to milk goats and sheep and consume their milk, a reason which was major (P<0.001) in Lilongwe. Strong flavour and taste was a tertiary factor in the study. Respondents failed to associate coded milk samples with actual sources. Mean taste scores (based on a 5-point scale of 1 = like very much to 5 = dislike very much) for goat, sheep end cow's milk were 1.81, 2.12 and 2.77, respectively. There were no significant differences among milk sources in these scores. The results indicate that goat and sheep milk is just as acceptable as cow's milk.

Résumé

206 personnel de trots lieux do District de Salima, dans le Centre du Malawi, ont été enquêtées pour évaluer et comparer l'attitude des consommateurs et l'acceptation du fait de chèvre et de brebis par rapport à celui de vache. 172 éleveurs de chèvres, proches du Collège de Bunda à Lilongwe ont été approchés pour évaluer leur attitude vis-à-vis du fait de chèvres.

38% des enquêtés à Salima avaient goûté ou consommé du fait de chèvre (4% du fait de brebis), contre 24% à Lilongwe. A Salima, le principal facteur influençant ['attitude vis-à-vis de la consommation de lait de chèvre et de brebis est sa non-disponibilité (P<0.001), suivi du fait que la traite des chèvres et des brebis n'est pas une pratique traditionnelle. Ce second facteur est le principal à Lilongwe (P<0.001). Les forts goût et odeur étaient le troisième facteur.

Les personnel enquêtées n'ont pas pu identifier des échantillons de fait des trots espèces. La moyenne des tests organoleptiques (1: aime beaucoup; 5 déteste), s'est située à 1,81 (lait de chèvre); 2,12 (brebis) et 2, 77 (fait de vache), sans qu'il y ait de différences significative dans ces appréciations. Les laits de chèvre et de brebis apparaissent donc être aussi acceptables que le fait de vache.

Introduction

In the tropics, milk is obtained mostly from cattle. Small ruminants (goats and sheep), however, are an important source of milk in Asia, the Middle East, north Africa and the Caribbean where the contribution of goats and sheep to total milk production is estimated at 15-50% (Matthewman, 1985; Treacher, 1985). South of the Sahara, until recently, goats and sheep were not by tradition, milked for human consumption.

FAO (1987) estimates that there are 250 and 300 million goats and sheep, respectively, in the tropics. About 60 and 30% of the world population of goats and sheep, respectively, are found in villages of the developing countries. Of the 1.6 million goats and 0.8 million sheep in Malawi, over 90% are owned by small-scale producers in rural areas (Malawi Government, n.d.). In 1987, dairy goats were introduced in Malawi as supplementary sources of milk.

Goat and sheep milk is said to have important advantages over cow, milk for human nutrition. For example, Jenness (1980), and Devendra and Burns (1983) reported that compared to cow's milk, goat and sheep milk has higher protein, energy and fat contents. It has adequate amino-acids content. The higher proportions of short-and medium-chain fatty acids are of greater significance for ease of digestion. Goat milk is an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus and chlorine. Although goat and sheep milk has excess potassium and chloride which cause acidosis, and is deficient in vitamins C and D and folic acid, this milk would be beneficial to children in early post-weaning periods. If supplemented with iron and folic acid, infants and pregnant mothers would benefit from these milk sources. However, strong flavour and taste of goat and sheep milk, and issues connected with witchcraft and lower social status are said to prevent people from consuming goat and sheep milk (Manyenga, 1987) despite the belief by others that goat milk has therapeutic properties. Manyenga (1987) further reported that other people believe goat Udders are too small to be milked. These controversies and the introduction of dairy goats in Malawi raised fundamental questions on milking of goats and sheep and peoples' attitudes towards an acceptance of milk from these sources. Information on these questions would help evaluate the feasibility of goat milk production programmes not only in Malawi, but also in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa and other tropical countries where small ruminant milk production has recently been introduced.

The objectives of this study were:

(a) to assess peoples' attitudes towards goat and sheep milk and its consumption and the factors associated with these attitudes.

(b) to compare the acceptance of goat and sheep milk relative to identically prepared cow's milk.

Experimental method

Two areas, namely Salima and Lilongwe where dairy goat projects have been initiated, were chosen for these studies. In Salima, two sets of questionnaires were administered by a trained research assistant at Mangochi Enterprises (site S1), Chipoka-Malawi College of Distant Education Centre (site S2) and at Salima Secondary School (site S3). The questionnaires used were written both in English and a local language. To capture information on milk consumption in general and the attitude of people towards goat and sheep milk, the first questionnaire was to be administered to as many individuals at each site as possible a day before the taste-test exercise was carried out. In the end, 31, 104 and 71 respondents were covered at sites S1, S2 and S3, respectively. Based on responses on the first day at each survey site, 28, 59 and 47 respondents at sites S1, S2 and S3, respectively, were selected to participate on the taste-test day.

For the taste-test exercise, fresh milk from zebu cows, local and Boer x local crossbred goats and from local and Dorper x local crossbred sheep was used. The milk was obtained from a goat breeding centre managed by the Malawi-German Livestock Development Programme at Lifidzi in Salima. The milk was passed through a milk strainer. The milk was then heated in clean sauce pans, while preventing burning, to near-boiling point and later cooled to body temperature. One hundred millilitre containers with lids were used. These containers were labelled X, Y and Z. Using random numbers, goat milk was allocated to X, sheep milk to Y and cow's milk to Z. About 100 ml of milk was poured in each container. They were kept at 35-40°C by placing them in an insulated box. During the taste-test exercise, respondents were again told they were tasting cow's, sheep and goat milk but the actual identities of samples were disclosed only after the taste exercise was completed. Each respondent was given a second questionnaire together with three samples of milk. They were encouraged to ask questions regarding test procedures. Each respondent was asked to taste the three coded samples one at a time in the order indicated on the questionnaire. Information required was the identity of the tester, identity of milk and reasons for this. They were also requested to score the taste for each milk sample on a 5-point scale as used by Boor et al (1987):

1. Like very much
2. Like
3. Neither like nor dislike
4. Dislike
5. Dislike very much.

General comments about the milk were invited at the end of each questionnaire. In another similar survey undertaken to assess the consumption and acceptance of goat milk and evaluate the factors limiting goat milk production/consumption among goat farmers, 172 individuals were interviewed in villages around Bunda College, Lilongwe, Central Malawi. Information collected was similar to that collected using the first questionnaire in Salima area.

Milk samples from goats and sheep were analysed and have been presented in a separate paper (Banda et al, 1990). The composition of zebu cow's milk (Kasowanjete, 1982) is not much different from that of goats. Data collected were analysed using contingency tables to provide a measure of association or fitness of fit (Gill, 1986).

Results

Consumption of milk and general attitude towards goat and sheep milk

About 85.9% of the respondents in Salima claimed to have tasted milk. However, only 78.2% claimed to drink milk on a regular basis, i.e., at least once per week (Table 1). Of those who drink milk, over half (56.5%) claimed to drink milk every day and 27.3% drank milk once per week.

Table 1. Frequency of milk consumption among consumers in Salima.



Site


Total


%

S1

S2

S3

Daily (over 3 times/week)

13

63

15

91

44.2

3 times per week

2

8

7

1 7

8.3

2 times per week

4

2

3

9

4.4

Once per week

11

13

20

44

21.4

None

1

18

26

45

21.8

Total

31

104

71

206

100.0

X2 = 43.2 (P<0.001).

About 96% had tasted or consumed cow's milk compared to only 38% and 4% for goat and sheep milk, respectively. There were no significant (P>0.001) variations in responses among sites. Since most respondents had consumed cow's milk, reasons for not having consumed cow's milk were removed from the statistical analysis. Results on reasons for not having consumed goat and sheep milk are presented in Table 2.

Table 2. Reasons for not consuming goat and sheep milk in Salima.

 

Milk source

Goat

Sheep

Total

%

Strong smell/taste

22

13

35

10.9

Allergic

6

4

10

3.1

Not available

64

118

182

56.9

Not traditional

17

36

53

16.6

Never heard of it

5

35

40

12.5

Total

114

206

320

100.0

X² = 21.9 (P<0.001).

Generally it is quite clear that the unavailability of the milk (P<0.001) was the major reason why most respondents (56.9%) in Salima have never consumed milk from goats and sheep, followed by the fact that goat and sheep milk consumption is not traditional. There was a significant (P<0.001) milk source difference in the ranking of reasons on non-consumption. With goat milk, the second most important reason (19.3% of consumers) was that goat milk had a very strong smell and taste whereas for sheep, the lack of tradition of sheep milk consumption and knowledge that sheep could be milked were both equally the second most important (17% of respondents) reasons for not consuming sheep milk.

About 68.5% and 62.5% of the respondents showed willingness to taste goat and sheep milk, respectively. About 63.0% were willing to buy and consume goat milk, while the proportion for sheep fell to 56.6%. Minor, but nonetheless culturally important, reasons were also identified. With sheep milk, people of the Malawi lakeshore origin never want to consume sheep milk because of the religious taboo of not consuming mutton. They also believe that the intensity of sneezing in sheep makes their milk psychologically unhygienic.

Of the 172 farmers interviewed in Lilongwe, central Malawi, only 24% had ever tasted goat milk. Of those who had never tasted or consumed goat milk, 91% said that it was not traditional to consume goat milk, 4.5% were allergic to it while 2.3% claimed that the small amounts obtained from goats did not warrant the consumption of their milk. However, over half (56.5) were willing to consume goat milk and over 90% were willing to produce and sell goat milk if dairy goats and a milk market were available.

Comparison of consumer acceptance of goat, sheep and cow milk

Data collected Using the second questionnaire were analysed to initially find out whether respondents could associate the coded samples with the actual sources of milk. Results are shown in Table 3. Sample X was goat milk, sample Y was sheep milk and sample Z was cow's milk. It is quite evident (P<0.001) that sample X was associated more with cow's milk. Both samples Y and Z were associated more (P<0.001) with sheep milk.

Table 3. Frequency of responses regarding sources of milk.

Milk code

Source according to respondent

Cow

Goat

Sheep

Total

X (Goat)

61

51

23

135

Y (Sheep)

37

45

55

137

Z (Cow)

35

45

54

134

Total

133

141

132

406

X2 = 25.0 (P<0.001).

Frequencies of taste-test scores for all the milk types are presented in Table 4. Irrespective of the source of milk, a significant (P < 0.001 ) proportion (66. 9%) gave scores of 1 and 2. There were significant interactions (P<0.001) with source of milk. Goat and sheep milk received scores of 1 and 2 from 71- 72% of the respondents while the proportion for cow's milk was only 59.2%. About 21-23% of the respondents gave scores of 4 and 5 for goat and sheep milk and that for cow's milk was 30.0%.

Table 4. Frequency of taste-test scores for goat, sheep end cow's milk in Salima District.


Taste score

Milk source


Total


%

Goat

Sheep

Cow

1

69

43

49

161

40.0

2

26

53

29

108

26.9

3

10

7

15

32

8.0

4

25

22

19

66

16.4

5

5

8

22

35

8.7

Total

135

133

134

402

100.0

X2 = 37.0 (P < 0.001).

Taste-test results in the form of mean scores for goat, sheep and cow's milk are presented in Table 5. The mean scores for goat, sheep and cattle milk were 1.81, 2.12 and 2.77, respectively. There were no significant differences (P>0.001) among these scores between the sources and sites of the study. The poorest score was for cow's milk at site S1.

Table 5. Mean taste-test scores for goat, sheep and cow's milk at three sites in Salima.


S1

S2

S3

Average

No. people interviewed

31

104

71


No. people on taste-test day

28

59

47


Mean scores:






Goat milk

1.08

2.83

1.51

1.81


Sheep milk

2.11

2.62

1.64

2.12


Cow's milk

4.00

1.83

2.47

2.77

At the three sites the respondents felt that goat and sheep milk was sweeter than cow's milk but that goat milk was sweetest. Those with more sensitive palates claimed that goat and sheep milk was creamier in taste. About 49.1% of the respondents claimed that goat and sheep milk was better, but whether this was with respect to nutritional value or not was not clear in this study; 16.5% were for cow's milk, 15.4 were indifferent and the rest did not give comments. After this taste-test exercise, the proportion of respondents claiming that goat and sheep milk has a strong smell fell to 3.8%.

Discussion

In this study, about 78.2% of the respondents claimed to consume milk at least once a week and 56.5% claimed to consume milk everyday. About 21.8% never consume milk. The major factor responsible for 21.8% of the respondents not consuming milk was their low incomes and or financial status. These results correspond favourably with those given by Banda and Phiri (1990) for the Lilongwe urban area in the Central Region of the country. Milk consumed was exclusively cow's milk and the regular consumption here may refer to consumption during breakfast or as snacks.

About 38% and 4% of the respondents in Salima had never tasted or consumed goat and sheep milk, respectively, because of unavailability. The high proportion of respondents in Lilongwe (91%) claiming not to consume milk because it was not traditional to milk goats and consume their milk, could perhaps allow to infer that unavailability may be strongly associated with the non-milking of goats as a tradition (Boor et al, 1987). One underlying factor is the claim that the Udder of sheep or goat was too small to produce enough milk for human consumption. Another factor is perhaps the termination of goat milking by the few who did after the introduction of dairy cows in the early 1960s in Malawi. For cow's milk, on the other hand, Banda and Phiri (1990) found that incomes and prices were the main factors limiting the choice and consumption of cow's milk and milk products. It seems, therefore, that in milk production projects, one must isolate the limiting factors for small ruminants from those for cattle.

A general problem that has been shown to limit the consumption of goat and sheep milk is its strong flavour and taste as reported previously in Zimbabwe (Manyenga, 1987) and in Kenya (Boor et al, 1987). Goat milk need not have a strong smell and taste. The strong smell/taste of milk from small ruminants, e.g., from goats, might be due to unclean milking procedures, utensils and milk itself. In addition, Skjevdal (1979) reported that the content of short-and medium-chain fatty acids (especially C6-C10), potassium chloride and the presence of some cresols (ortho-, meta- and para-cresols) may be responsible for the strong flavour and taste of the milk from goats and not necessarily the presence of the buck. In the present study, the strong flavour/taste was a secondary factor for goat milk and was a very minor factor for sheep milk, reflecting perhaps, better milking procedures and handling of the milk. This is confirmed by the results of the taste-test exercise which showed that respondents could not really associate the coded samples with actual sources of milk. In addition, no differences in taste scores were detected between goat and sheep milk on the one hand and cow's milk on the other. If anything could be said at all, it was obvious that the respondents showed the least preference for cow's milk. The claim, therefore, that goat and sheep milk has a strong flavour is based on unsubstantiated reports or purely an aesthetic bias. Although the presence of the bucks may not be responsible for the strong flavour in goats, it is nevertheless advisable to prevent contact between males and lactating females immediately before milking and hair from falling into the milk. The specific flavour of goat and sheep milk, if not caused by unhygienic conditions, may not be important for direct human consumption, but is desirable in cheese production.

Although goat milk ranked highest and cow's milk lowest on a double blind taste-test exercise, the mean taste-test scores were not statistically different between the sources. The higher number of best scores of 1 and 2 for all the milk and the mean scores of less than 3 reflect high consumer opinion of all the milk types. Goat milk was the best in flavour and taste followed by sheep milk. Acceptability therefore, may not be a limiting factor to consumption of goat and sheep milk as was observed in Kenya (Boor et al, 1987). This tends to confirm the indication that unavailability of the milk may be the major overriding factor. Malawi local goats produce between 250 and 640 ml of milk per day using hand-milking (Mwenefumbo and Phoya, 1982; Mchiela, 1989; Banda et al, 1990). This is not even enough for kids and lambs. To improve milk production to levels that will provide a surplus for human consumption, dairy goat breeds such as the Saanen, Alpine and Anglo-Nubian could be crossed with local breeds while selecting for slightly better producing local genotypes.

The sweeter taste of goat and sheep milk as claimed by some respondents might be due to the 4.5-5.1% lactose content observed in the milk used in the study and the creaminess could have been due to the high (6.0-7.0%) fat content. The real effects due to these chemical constituents on the use of goat and sheep milk for infant feeding and as emergency milk sources in cases of breast failure should be studied. Since the composition of cow's milk was not determined, there is a need to do the survey again, but now backed by nutritional and medical studies in order to evaluate intolerance of consumers to the use of these three different milk types.

It is concluded that unavailability was the major problem influencing the consumption of goat and sheep milk. Acceptability for these milk types was high. Strong flavour/taste was a tertiary factor in this study and of little or no consequence. However, in order to increase the scope and general validity of the results of this type of investigation, there is need to include other locations likely to be affected by the goat milk production research and development programmes.

Acknowledgements

The author wishes to thank J M Heremah for translating the questionnaire into a local language and for conducting the surveys. The questionnaires were checked by H P Zerfas and F D Heremah. The author also expresses his thanks to O Superzana for assisting in data processing and to B S Banda for typing the paper. Further, animals and materials used were obtained from the Malawi-German Livestock Development Programme's Lifidzi Ranch. Financial support was obtained from the University Of Malawi Research and Publications Committee and from the Contract Research Committee of the Ministry of Agriculture (Research), Malawi.

References

Banda J W and Phiri C D. 1990. Investigations into the factors influencing the choice and consumption of milk and milk products in Malawi. Journal of Consumer Studies and Home Economics 14:123-131.

Banda J W. Steinbach J and Zerfas H P. 1990. The composition and yield of milk from nondairy goats and sheep in Malawi. Paper presented at the First Conference of the African Small Ruminant Research Network, Nairobi, 10-15 December, 1990.

Boor K J. Brown D L and Fitzhugh H A. 1987. Western Kenya: The potential for goat milk production. World Animal Review 62:31-40.

Devendra C and Burns, M. 1983. Goat production in the tropics. Second edition. Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux, Farnham Royal, Slough, UK. pp. 64-73.

FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). 1987. Production yearbook. Volume 40. FAO Statistics Series 51, FAO, Rome, Italy.

Gill J L. 1986. Review of analysis of contingency tables with dichotomous responses. Tierzucht und Zuechtungsbiologie 103:1 -25.

Jenness R. 1980. Composition and characteristics of goat milk. A review 1968-79. Journal of Dairy Science 63: 1605- 1630.

Kasowanjete M B B. 1982. Breeds of cattle and breeding programmes in Malawi. Paper presented at the FAO/SIDA Workshop on Breeding and Feeding of Cattle for Milk Production, December, 1981, Lilongwe, Malawi.

Malawi Government, Department of National Statistics. (n.d.). National sample survey of agriculture, 1985/86. Government Printer, Zomba, Malawi.

Manyenga A. 1987. Acceptability of goat milk. Farming World, September 1987 p. 23.

Matthewman R W. 1985. Milk production from goats. In: Smith A J (ed), Milk production in developing countries. International Conference held in Edinburgh, UK, 2-6 April 1984. Centre for Tropical Medicine, Edinburgh, UK. pp. 403-423.

Mchiela AF. 1989. Milk production and growth rates of goats maintained under free range, tethered and confined systems of management. MSc thesis, University of Malawi, Zomba, Malawi.

Mwenefumbo A F and Phoya R K D. 1982. Composition and yield of Malawian local goat. Tropical Animal Production 7:71.

Skjevdal T. 1979. Flavour of goat's milk. A review of studies on the sources of its variations Livestock Production Science 6:397 405.

Treacher T T. 1985. Dairy sheep production. In: Smith A J (ed), Milk production in developing countries. International conference held in Edinburgh, UK, 2-6 April 1984. Centre for Tropical Medicine, Edinburgh, UK. pp. 388 402.


Previous Page Top of Page Next Page