Homogenisation is a mechanical process which breaks up the fat globules of cream in whole and semi-skimmed milk, and distributes them throughout the liquid so that they do not float to the top. Basically it gets rid of the cream layer. There are a number of reasons why this is done; it is said to reduce the ‘fatty sensation’ of whole milk, which producers believe consumers do not want; it increases the whiteness of the milk, making it more appealing to customers (when sold in transparent bottles), but most of all it creates a liquid of uniform consistency, avoiding the development of a cream plug which can cause problems when processing milk on huge scales.
We have an interesting situation here at Riverford because at our Devon dairy we don’t homogenise. We like to give people the option of giving the carton a shake if they want the cream mixed through the milk, or to have a nice glob of cream on their cereal if they so fancy. Meanwhile a survey sent out by Acorn Dairy, our organic milk producer in North-East England came back saying the majority of their customers wanted homogenised milk as they think it tastes better in tea. Which do you prefer?