Michigan State University researchers conducted a statewide survey to find out more about the demographics of raw milk supporters and why they prefer unpasteurized milk. Their research provides a look into the psyche of typical raw milk consumers.
Researchers Angela Renee Katafiasz and Paul Bartlett mailed questionnaires to raw milk producers, who then distributed them to their cow- or goat-share members. Thirty-five percent of the surveys were completed and returned to the Katafiasz and Bartlett for analysis.
Though limited to a small sample of raw-milk consumers, the research showed that these consumers are typically well-educated men and women in their late 20s. Their preferences are driven by a need to support local farms and taste preferences.
Survey participants also believe that drinking raw milk is healthier and easier to digest than processed milk. The majority believed that drinking raw milk relieves allergies, intestinal diseases and digestive problems.
In addition, Katafiasz and Bartlett found that most respondents trust their raw milk producer more than the government. Just 7 percent of the survey participants trusted recommendations made by state health officials regarding which foods are safe to eat.
Further research is likely, especially to study the hypothesized health benefits of raw milk and the perception that consumers drink raw milk despite being more expensive and less convenient to purchase.