The future: one hump or two?

The future: one hump or two?

Have you ever looked at a camel-milk latte and just thought: "Why?"

No. Probably not. But it may soon be coming to a cafe near you.

Camels are adapted to arid conditions and are capable of converting dry, nutrient-poor feed into energy. In a practical sense, that means they can be grazed on more marginal pasture, and may show resilience in the face of climate change. And many farms around the world catch wild camels, meaning they're taking pests out of the environment.

There's also some evidence that camels aren't as methane heavy as cows. A small study in 2014 analysed the emissions from five Bactrian (two-humped) camels, five alpacas, and six llamas (both species of camelid). While the camels produced the same amount of methane per unit of fibre as cows, when the data was standardised for body weight, the camels emitted around half the amount of methane over a 24-hour period. That's because they consume smaller quantities of food and are more efficient at converting that to energy.

While camel's milk may be one in a smorgasbord of milk options we should embrace in future. Camels produce less than half the milk of a dairy cow, and making camel's milk economically viable is a challenge.

But there is a silver lining. Camel dairies around the world have been forced to experiment and diversify to be profitable.

Among the camel-milk-based products they've come up with are gelato, cheese, and vodka, made from whey.

Cheers to diversity.