Camel milk company Desert Farms sees big potential

Camel milk chocolate, cheese and cosmetics – the future is bright for next ‘superfood’

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Desert Farms' camel milk
Desert Farms' camel milk

Related tags: Camel milk, Milk

Camel milk will be the next ‘superfood’ in the US, predicts the founder of Desert Farms, a company launched in January to offer the product to the American market.

Camel milk has been used for centuries in the Middle East, Asian and North African cultures, but is now subject to increased interest from around the world.

Traditionally served as a natural remedy, it is becoming popular with health-conscious consumers and people who have food allergies or intolerances.

Wealthy health conscious consumers

Walid Abdul-Wahab, founder and CEO of Desert Farms, told the majority of consumers use it because of its nutritional and medicinal claims.

It will never be as competitive as cows’ or goats’ milk in terms of price, but it will definitely gain much popularity due to its reported health benefits and healing properties and will definitely be seen as a 'superfood’,"​ he said.

Camel milk is naturally 50% lower in fat and 50% lower in saturated fat than cows’ milk, the company claims. It also cites it as a natural pro-biotic, and a source of calcium, vitamin B1, protein, potassium and phosphorus.

The milk can be drunk by people with lactose intolerance, and attracts diabetics because it is high in insulin. It has also been suggested it could help children with autism.

80% [of customers] are parents who have children with autism or who have food allergies,​” said Abdul-Wahab. “10% of people have diabetes, and the remainder are high intensity athletes, wealthy health conscious consumers, ethnic communities such as Muslims and Somalis.​” 

Consumers are not put off by price tag

However, camel milk comes at a price - $16 for a pint (473ml) of pasteurized whole camel milk.

It’s expensive because we are outnumbered - there are 18,000 cows for every camel in the US,​” said Abdul-Wahab. “Production is very low and demand is very high."

However, he is confident people are prepared to pay for it. 

Parents are replacing their over-the-counter and prescription drugs to use camel milk as a natural remedy. So given the intended use it’s not that expensive - parents would spend hundreds and thousands of dollars and therapy and drugs. 

It’s a very niche market with lots of potential to grow, as we increase our production the cost of the milk will go down.​”

Early success

Abdul-Wahab, who is originally from Saudi Arabia but moved to California, launched Desert Farms in January this year. He realized Americans valued a healthy lifestyle and started his ‘camel milk revolution.’

Abdul-Wahab said the company broke even during  its second month of operation. The milk comes from Amish and small family farms in the US, where camels are pasture-raised.  

Desert Farms is in 40 whole foods store in Northern California and 11 stores in Southern California, as of today the company has more than $100k in total sales,​” he said.

But the company has big plans to grow further.  

We just came up with camel milk Kefir, a fermented drink​,” said Abdul-Wahab. “We also launched our cosmetics line which will have camel milk soaps, and we are working on lotions and creams. We are working on a new product line for infants, a 100% camel milk powder and camel milk whey powder.

We are a couple of months away from launching our 8oz camel milk for "back to school" kids, some may have flavors such as dates, chocolate and strawberry. Other products such as camel milk chocolate bars, camel milk ice cream, camel milk cheese will be launched by the beginning of next year.​”

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Whey protein

Posted by Gerardo Caja,

Sorry but, to avoid misunderstandings, I need to specify that I was referring to beta-lactoglobulin (B-Lg) as a milk serum or whey protein (not from blood serum). That is, B-Lg is produced in the mammary gland and you will found it in the milk whey after rennet coagulation of the milk caseins (i.e., as for cheese production).

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Insulin in milk

Posted by Gerardo Caja,

Despite being scarcely known, scientific research proved the presence of insulin as well as other bioactive compounds in milk, including camel's milk. Moreover, camel milk proved to be efficient in the treatment of diabetes.
Please consult:
Agrawal et al. (2011). Effect of camel milk on glycemic control and insulin
requirement in patients with type 1 diabetes: 2-years randomized controlled trial. European J. Clin. Nutr. (doi:l 0.1 038/ejcn.2011.98)

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Misinformation on lactose

Posted by Gerardo Caja,

Camel milk has many claims on functional properties, but it can not be consumed by lactose intolerant people. Lactose content of camel's milk is similar to that of other ruminants and necessary for milk secretion.
The significant difference of camel's milk is the lack of beta-lactoglobulin, a serum protein which is high in cow, goat and sheep milk but absent from human milk. Consequently, there are less intolerance in humans to camel milk when compared to other milk types.
Thanks for correcting this misinformation.

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