Shocking & Fun Facts You Should Know About Milo (Drink)


Milo, produced by Nestlé, is a chocolate and malt powder which can be mixed with hot or cold water to produce a beverage drink that is consumed in many parts of the world. Milo is commonly as a powder in a green tin and sachets made of Polyethylene terephthalate, Aluminum foil, and Polyethylene laminated together. The packs often depict various sporting activities. Milo is available as a premixed beverage in some countries, and has been subsequently developed into a snack bar, chocolate cubes (choco milo) and breakfast cereals. Its composition and taste differ in some countries.

Some Shocking And Fun Facts About Beverage Drink, Milo

A lot of people consume this drink and don’t even know some facts they should know about what they are consuming. In this post, I am going to share with you some facts that may be shocking and other facts that are fun to know about Nestlé’s Milo.

1. Milo Was Developed In Australia, Not Switzerland

I thought there should be nothing surprising about this, but I found myself totally wrong when I asked so many people. A lot of people though Milo was developed in Switzerland, where the headquarters of Nestlé is located. No, Milo was originally developed by Thomas Mayne in Sydney, Australia in 1934.

Nestle Milo Nigerian 900g

This is just by way of introducing Milo to you and letting you know its history. Other fun and shocking facts can be found on pages 2 – 10. Some will definitely make your jaw drop! I promise you. Just click on 2, 3, 4, 5 and so on below…

2. Not Everybody Can Drink Milo (Allergen Declaration)

The major ingredients Milo is made from are Cocoa, Milk, Malt and Sugar; it is there on the ingredients list on Milo sachets or cans. Malt is mostly made from Barley or Sorghum and these grains are known to contain Gluten, which some people are hypersensitive to. But is seems Nestlé may have found a way around their product such that it does not contain gluten. I am saying this because it is not declared on their package.

I have talked about allergies in one post, under which I mentioned gluten, eggs, milk, soy milk, etc., as allergens to some people. In another post, I mentioned that gluten-rich foods could contribute to abdominal bloating, causing stomach protrusion. Lactose-rich foods such as milk could contribute too, therefore, people that have lactose intolerance may be hypersensitive to Milo because it contains Milk.

milo ingredients and allergen declaration

Nestlé has done a good job by clearly stating the allergens that could be present in Milo as follows;

Contains milk and soya.

It is now left to you to develop the habit of reading food labels to find out all these things.

ALSO SEE: Allergens That Are Common In Foods We Eat (Opens in new Tab)

3. Milo contains more Malt than Cocoa by Weight

SURPRISED? I guess so! Many people have the impression that Milo is always referred to as a Cocoa beverage, therefore it should have more cocoa than any other ingredients in it. But from the labeling on cocoa cans and sachet, there is more malt by weight than cocoa inside.

You could say, “but their quantities/mass are not stated there…how did you know that?” Here it is, there are international standards for labeling food, which I am sure a company like Nestlé would comply with religiously. Below are the standards as stated by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC);

4.2 LIST OF INGREDIENTS

4.2.1 Except for single ingredient foods, a list of ingredients shall be declared on the label.

4.2.1.1 The list of ingredients shall be headed or preceded by an appropriate title which consists of or includes the term ‘ingredient’.

4.2.1.2 All ingredients shall be listed in descending order of ingoing weight (m/m) at the time of the manufacture of the food.

What this means is that, under the ingredients list, the ingredients must be listed with the most massive one first, followed by the next one and so on to the least used ingredient. 

milo ingredients and allergen declaration

Did you read FACT Number 2 at all? It is just as surprising! It is implied on packs of Milo that not everybody can consume it for safety reasons? Want to know why? Then check number two!

4. The Name Is Pronounced As Spelt

Many people in this part of the world do not pronounce Milo the way it should be. The “i” should be pronounced as “ai” and not “i”. This will give us the sound /ˈmaɪloʊ/ instead of /ˈmɪloʊ/ that many people have been calling it. I hope people would be able to change that.

Many do not know they are not using the correct pronunciation while some others know but feel it is not worth it as it makes you look like a fool sometimes. Imagine walking into a grocery store where everyone calls it /ˈmɪloʊ/ and start asking for /ˈmaɪloʊ/, you would not only look wrong but also look like a fool when they try to ignorantly correct your “mistake” and laugh about it.

You can always make your point though, and let them know the right pronunciation but often, it usually falls on deaf ears, especially when everyone there are sure it is called /ˈmɪloʊ/. Although it is pronounced the right way in most parts of the world, the company looked like they have given up on this in countries like Nigeria as all their adverts call it /ˈmɪloʊ/.

Did you know you can get addicted to Milo?

5. You Can Get Addicted To Milo

Yes, it not only coffee one can get addicted to; you can get addicted to chocolate drinks such as Milo. This is not just about Milo but about foods containing cocoa, so don’t think I’m going to switch to Bournvita or something. In coffee, there is caffeine which causes the addiction to coffee, therefore if you buy any brand of coffee that has not being decaffeinated, you would still get that bad boy called caffeine in there.

Cocoa contains theobromine, a xanthine alkaloid similar to caffeine which is present in the cocoa used in the product; thus, like chocolate, it can become mildly addictive if consumed in quantities of more than 15 heaped teaspoons per day. This I guess is way too much for anyone to take in a day anyway.

milo drink

A research carried out in Nigeria to determine the caffeine and theobromine contents (mg/g) in samples of selected Nigerian beverage products found Milo and Bournvita to contain around the same theobromine. The beverages were cocoa (Milo, Bournvita, Rosevita and Enervita), coffee (Nescafe, Bongo, and Maxwell House decaffeinated) and tea (Lipton).

6. Milo Contains More Sugar Than Malt, Cocoa and Milk

Just as I explained before that the proportion by weight of ingredients in any food products are labelled in descending order – highest to lowest. This is the standards and that is what any reputable food manufacturer follows. If you take a quick look at any Milo can or sachet, you would see that sugar is listed first before milk solids (emulsifier: soya lecithin), malt extract (sorghum) then cocoa powder.

What is however not clear to many people that are aware of this fact is what they mean by sugar – is it just sucrose (the common sugar we use to sweeten food) or the total sugar that is present as a result of other ingredients. For example, milk contains a sugar that is called lactose and it is not sweet. There is also maltose from the Sorghum used to produce malt and this might have contributed to the total sugar.

Here is what Milo’s has to say about that;

Over half the TOTAL sugars in a glass of MILO® and trim milk, are natural sugars from lactose in milk.

There is less than 1 teaspoon of ADDED table sugar.

The remaining sugar naturally come from the milk powder and malted barley ingredients in MILO® powder.

milo sugar content pie chart

Findings have revealed that Milo made in Australia and New Zealand have Glycemic Indices (GI) similar to that of Coke. Surprised?

7. Milo’s Glycemic Index Is Same As Coke’s

Findings in Australia and Switzerland have revealed that Milo dissolved in water has a glycemic index that is the same as Coke. Milo dissolved in water has a Glycemic Index (GI) of 55, the same as Coca-Cola but this can be brought down by using Milk instead of only water. What is Glycemic Index?

Milk has a much lower GI of 30 – 33, so mixing a very small amount of Milo into a mug of milk yields an overall GI closer to 33, and mixing a large amount of Milo into a mug of milk will give a GI closer to 55.

The International Table of Glycemic Index(GI) and Glycemic Load (GL) also listed them to have very close GIs. The following is what was listed for each of those samples;

Coca Cola ® , soft drink (Coca Cola Amatil, Sydney, NSW, Australia) has a glycemic index of 53±7 (250 g/serving) while Milo TM (Nestlé, Australia) dissolved in water has 55±3. Milo TM (Nestlé, Australia) dissolved in full-fat cow’s milk has a GI of 35±2.

glycemic index coke
glycemic index Milo

8. Malaysians Are The World’s Largest Consumers of Milo

Milo is very popular in Malaysia and Singapore. It is most popular in Malaysia where the brand name is synonymous with chocolate flavoured drinks, just like many people would refer to any noodle as Indomie here. Milo has a 90% market share in Malaysia and this is not the same as the often quoted 90% worldwide share of Milo consumption.

Milo is this popular in Malaysia because Milo was once used as a nutrient supplement when it was first introduced in the country, and has thus gained a reputation as a ‘must have’ drink for the old and the younger generations.

This post was compiled just to enlighten people on one of the foods that we consume, it is not an advertisement and it is not to critisize any product and make them look bad. In fact, many things shared here are pluses for Milo.

milo actigen-e

Finally, it is worth noting that the drink is high in calcium, iron and the vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12. Milo is advertised as containing “Actigen-E” – this is just Nestlé’s trademarked name for the vitamins in the Milo recipe.

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Ahmed Ogundimu
Ahmed is a Food Scientist/Technologist first of all. A Seasoned Blogger, Astute Marketer, Food Enthusiast and Manchester United Lover. I read anything and everything available so I know so many useful and useless things.

4 Comments

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  1. If adverts pronounce the name the correct way, people will catch on. Except Nestlé in Nigeria don’t know the coRect pronunciation.

  2. Milo used to be my best, in fact, only beverage for decades, but of late, I discovered its too sugary. Even the added sugar does not dissolve and you could see heavy deposit of sugar grains at the cup bottom.
    I had to opt for a less sugary Ovaltine.

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