Rethink your robot milk cartons
In Australia, the price of milk has risen almost 20 per cent in just the past year.
Photo: James Brickwood But it isn’t just Australian consumers that are feeling the pinch of rising milk prices.
There are some who say there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that robot milk dispensers are contributing to a rise in obesity and diabetes.
“We’re seeing a rise of obesity rates across the country, and it’s happening more quickly in Australia,” said Dr Rebecca Williams, chief executive of Australian Obesity Forum.
“The robot milk delivery industry is starting to be a concern, but there are other potential health implications, like diabetes and obesity.”
The rise in robot milk prices, which are expected to rise by 10 per cent a year in Australia over the next three years, have been linked to the increasing number of milk vending machines, which have popped up across the nation.
There has also been concern about a growing number of robot-operated vending machines popping up across Australia.
“Robot milk dispenser are increasingly being used in conjunction with vending machines to make money,” Dr Williams said.
“They’re becoming increasingly popular, and have been used in the past to make large amounts of money for the companies that are selling them.”
In one of the first cases of a robotic milk dispensing machine being used for a business, it was used to make 1,200 bottles of the popular pink-flavoured milk cartomiser.
“There are a lot of things happening around the milk dispensator industry that are affecting consumers’ health,” Dr James Brickwell, senior research fellow at the University of Technology Sydney, said.
The research, published in the Journal of Health Economics, found that the use of robotic milk cartones had led to an increase in the number of people in the country who were obese and diabetic.
There was also a correlation between the number and the number that were obese.
“People are becoming more active and exercising, and the risk of developing diabetes has increased significantly,” Dr Brickwell said.
Dr Williams added that the rise in the robot milk supply could be a consequence of the increased availability of robotic systems.
“This is not necessarily the case that a lot more people are buying milk in a robot system, but it’s more common that people are actually buying milk from a robot than they are buying from an individual milk maker,” she said.
Robots are becoming increasingly available for consumers The robots are becoming easier to use, which is also making it more difficult for consumers to find the right milk.
“It’s been very difficult for people to find milk online in the first place,” Dr Davis said.
There is also an increasing trend for consumers not to shop for milk at all, as they are choosing to shop at convenience stores, gas stations and convenience stores that don’t carry the milk that their customers are looking for.
This is also seen in other countries around the world, where there is increased competition between supermarkets, which often offer better prices, and online.
Dr Brickwood said that there was also an increased demand for cheaper milk.
“[Robots are] becoming more available for a variety of reasons, and they’re becoming easier and easier to purchase,” she added.
“One of the things that’s happened is that people have been purchasing more milk online.”
While the research was conducted over the past three years and is based on a small sample, Dr Brickland said that the findings had broad implications.
“Our research showed that the demand for robotic milk products is increasing,” she noted.
“That means that it’s likely that we’ll see more and more robotic milk delivery systems appearing in the future, and these machines will become increasingly available.”
Dr Williams agrees.
“If you look at all of the new robots that are coming out, we think there’s a strong link between them and the demand,” she explained.
“I think there will be more and better robotic milk machines appearing.”
In addition to the growing demand for milk, there is also a growing concern that the increase in robotic milk supply is putting pressure on the already overburdened Australian food industry.
“As we get into the next 10 to 15 years, there will probably be a lot less food to sell,” Dr Roberts said.
It is hoped that a solution to the problem of overburden will be found, but with the current amount of demand for food and drinks, there may not be much more that can be done.
“Food is going to be very hard to sell in the next few years,” Dr Brewer said.