Jump to content

Milo (drink)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hot Milo and milk
Product typeChocolate-based products
Introduced29 August 1934; 89 years ago (1934-08-29)
TaglineGo further!
Winning everyday!
Building Champions in Life
Energy to Go Further
Energy to Build Champions
Beat Energy Gap
May Tagumpay ang Pursigido
Bring out the champion with Milo

Milo (/ˈml/ MY-loh;[1] stylised as MILO) is a chocolate-flavoured malted powder product produced by Nestlé, typically mixed with milk, hot water, or both, to produce a beverage. It was originally developed in Australia by Thomas Mayne (1901–1995) in 1934.

Most commonly sold as a powder in a green can, often depicting various sporting activities like badminton or football, Milo is available as a premixed beverage in some countries and has been subsequently developed into a snack bar, breakfast cereal and protein granola. Its composition and taste differ from country to country.

Milo maintains significant popularity in a diverse range of countries throughout the world, particularly in Australasia, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.


1940s Milo can

In 1934, Australian industrial chemist and inventor Thomas Mayne, who was working at Nestlé, developed "Milo"[2][3] and launched it at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.[4] Mayne came up with his formula for Milo combining malt extract (made from malted barley), full cream milk powder, cocoa, sugar, mineral salts, iron and vitamins A, D and B1, in an attempt "to develop a completely balanced food drink which contained all the necessary proteins and minerals".[5] It was intended to help children to obtain enough nutrients in their diet.[6]

Nestlé, which had taken ownership of a milk-processing plant in Smithtown, New South Wales, in 1921, started producing the product not long after the show.[6] The name was derived from the famous ancient Greek athlete Milo of Croton, after his legendary strength.[7] The product was even noted as "tonic food".[8][9]


Milo powder (Australian form)

Milo is manufactured by evaporating the water content from a thick syrup at reduced pressure, using a vacuum dryer to reduce the mix to granular form.[10] The thick opaque syrup is obtained from malted wheat or barley sourced from companies that produce these raw products.[11][12]

Milo's composition and taste differ in some countries due to logistics limitations and personal preferences among different regions.

As of 2021, the Smithtown factory, which produces the product for Australia and New Zealand, produces more than 13,000 tonnes of Milo a year.[6] Nestlé Singapore states that Milo is produced locally at its factory in Jurong.[13] Milo in Japan is manufactured using ingredients imported from Singapore.[14][15][16]

Nutritional information[edit]

The recipe for the standard product has remained almost exactly the same since its creation in 1934, the only variation being in the added minerals and vitamins.

Standard Milo consists of four main ingredients: malted barley, milk powder, sugar and cocoa.[17] It contains 1,680 kJ (402 kilocalories) in every 100 g of the powder, mostly from carbohydrates. Carbohydrates can be used for energy by the body, which is the basis of Milo being marketed as an energy drink. Most of the carbohydrate content is sugar. The New Zealand version of Milo is 46 percent sugar.[18]

Milo dissolved in water has a glycemic index (GI) of 55.[19] However, milk has a much lower GI of 30 to 33, so mixing a very small amount of Milo into a mug of milk yields an overall GI closer to 33, however adding a lot of Milo into a mug of milk, yields an overall GI that is closer to 55.[20]

Milo is high in calcium, iron and the vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12. Milo is advertised as containing "Actigen-E" which is Nestlé's trademarked name for the vitamins in the Milo recipe.[21] It also contains some theobromine, a xanthine alkaloid similar to caffeine, which is present in the cocoa used in the product.[22][23]

In Southeast Asia, a nutrition research society[who?] based in Malaysia set up in 2014 suggested that Milo and similar products made children who consumed them "more likely to be physically active and spend less time in front of a computer or television".[citation needed] A 2017 New York Times article found that Nestlé had been financing the society and vetting the articles before publication, leading to questions of scientific impartiality.[24][25] The high concentration of sugar, and the presence of maltodextrin, also raised whether the product should be marketed as a health product.[26]


Since 2017, Nestle Philippines has produced Milo using its "protomalt" formulation.[27][28] The protomalt is composed of carbohydrates derived from barley and cassava.[27][28]

In Australia, a version of Milo called Milo B-Smart was released in 2008, which had a finer texture, added B vitamins and iodine, and a different taste from the original Milo formula, and was marketed as a health food for children.[29] However, as of 2021, this product is no longer available.[30] A higher malt content form also existed in Australia and was marketed in brown and maroon coloured cans. As of May 2015, this form is no longer manufactured.[citation needed]

As of 2021, three other varieties are manufactured at the Australian plant: high protein, reduced sugar and a plant-based version.[6]

As of 2021, Nestlé has launched dairy-free plant-based versions of Milo and other drinks under the brand. The new version of these drinks contain almond and soy milk, the two core ingredients – cocoa and malt – remain the same.[31]


Milo is typically mixed with milk, hot water, or both, to produce a beverage.[32]

Australia and New Zealand[edit]

Traditionally in Australia and New Zealand, Milo is served mixed with either hot or cold milk, or sprinkled on top.[33]


Iced Milo aka "Milo Ais" or "Milo Peng". A popular drink in Singapore, Malaysia and South American countries like Colombia

Milo manufactured outside Australia is customised for local methods of preparation. In Malaysia, as well as Brunei and some other parts of Asia, Milo with ice added is known as "Iced Milo" or "Milo Ais" in Malay Language (alternatively, "bing" or "peng", meaning ice in Cantonese and Hokkien respectively). Iced Milo is even available at fast food restaurants such as KFC and McDonald's.[34][35][36]

In Malaysia, Milo is also served locally in kopitiams and mamak stalls in versions such as "Milo Dinosaur" (a cup of Milo with an extra heaped spoonfuls worth of undissolved Milo powder added on top of it), "Milo Godzilla" (a cup of Milo with ice cream and/or topped with whipped cream) "Neslo" (combined with Nescafé powdered coffee) and "Milo Mangkuk" (Iced Milo that is served with shaved ice inside a plastic bowl). The Milo powder is also usually used in the making of Batik cake. In Hong Kong, Milo is served in Cha chaan teng.[37]

In Malaysia, Milo is also sometimes sprinkled on ice cream or breakfast cereals, or mixed with milk into a paste and spread on bread.[38] Milo can be used as an ingredient in roti canai, where it is usually called "roti Milo".[39]

At the present time, Malaysia has the world's highest per capita consumption of Milo, Singapore coming second.[40]


Milo being served at an athletics event

Apart from Australia, Milo is popular in many countries and regions including New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Pakistan, Philippines, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Thailand, Japan, Jamaica, Guyana, Chile, Colombia, and countries in Southern Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, West Africa.[41][42][43] In Australia and most other countries, the packaging is a green can and depicts people playing various sports.

In Australia, the MILO in2CRICKET and MILO T20 Blast programs, operated in most areas by volunteers, teach children age 5–12 how to play the game of cricket. In the 2016–2017 season, over 78,000 children participated in the programs.[44]

Milo is very popular in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, where the brand name is synonymous with chocolate flavoured drinks: Milo has a 90% market share in Malaysia,[45] and Malaysians were said to be the world's largest consumers of Milo.[46] In Malaysia and Singapore, specialised trucks or vans, affectionately called Milo vans, serving up to three thousand cup of the drink are commonly seen at sports and community events and schools.[47]

In Peru, during the 1970s military dictatorship, Milo labels displayed Peruvian motifs, such as photos and pictures of Peruvian towns, history, crops, fruits, animals, plants,[48][49] as an educational aid. After 1980, when the military left power, sports predominated on the labels.

Milo is sold by Nestlé in Canada at all major food retailers. Although Milo has been available since the 1970s, a Canadian-specific flavour launched within the last decade[when?] that dissolves more quickly but maintains the sweet malt flavour profile. It competes with the British brand Ovaltine.[citation needed]

Aside from the International section of specific grocery stores and certain Asian grocery stores, Nestlé does not market Milo in the United States. In 2017 Colombian-manufactured Milo started appearing on shelves in supermarkets in the United States such as Walmart.[citation needed]

It can also be found in the United Kingdom in some Sainsbury's and Tesco supermarkets, which import it from Kenya and South Africa. Asian food specialists also stock it. Ovaltine is more popular with UK consumers.[50]

In Ireland, it can be found in many Asian or African stores. Typically they will stock Kenyan or Filipino Milo.

In China, it is commonly sold in Western supermarkets, but also smaller convenience stores. Usually packaged in a 240gram flexible foil pouch, single-drink packets can also be purchased. The Milo itself contains more milk solids than the Australian Milo.[51]

In the past, it was available in Portugal and Brazil. Nestlé Brazil discontinued production of Milo in Brazil, to focus on the much-popular domestic brands Nescau and Nesquik. The Chilean version of Milo is still in production and is identical in taste and texture to the one that was once produced in Brazil.[citation needed]

In May 2013, more than 20 years out of the Portuguese market, Nestlé reintroduced the brand, aiming at the high-end market.[52]

In the Philippines, Nestlé partnered with the Department of Education in 2017, in a marketing response to the "energy gap" within school-aged children whose athletic and academic performance were impacted due to low energy. This raised the ethical question of advertising to children. [53]

Derivative products[edit]

A Milo energy food bar c.2011, split

Milo was available as a snack in cube form in Nigeria, Ghana and Dubai in 1975.[54]

The Milo chocolate bar was a brand of brownie, caramel, Milo and chocolate-covered candy bars, produced by Nestlé for sale in Australia and available in 2006. It included ingredients of Milo powder.[55] It claimed to be the only milk chocolate with "choco malt" and "all natural ingredients including cocoa, milk and malt".[56] The chocolate bar was discontinued in Australia in 2003, replaced with an "energy food bar",[57][58] which as of 2021 is no longer available either. Two varieties of Milo snack bars can be bought in packs of six.[59]

As of 2006, there was also Milo cereal (described as "cornflakes with a Milo coating"), Milo smoothies, Milo mousse, and Milo ice-cream (a vanilla ice-cream coated with hard Milo/chocolate shell).[55]

Milo nuggets have been available since 1994 in Southeast Asia and Colombia.[60][61] Milo cereal balls and a range of other derivative products are marketed by Tesco in Malaysia.[62]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Khong, Rachel (6 March 2017). "An Ode to Milo, the Malted Chocolate Drink I Grew Up With". Bon Appétit. Retrieved 21 December 2021.
  2. ^ "60 years on and Milo is still a sweet success". The Canberra Times. Vol. 69, no. 21, 636. Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 12 July 1994. p. 3. Retrieved 28 April 2021 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ "History". Nestle. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  4. ^ "About Milo". Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  5. ^ "Milo: 60 years of a winning formula". The Canberra Times. Vol. 70, no. 21, 693. Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 7 September 1994. p. 26. Retrieved 28 April 2021 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ a b c d Johnson, Keely (30 May 2021). "Smithtown Milo factory celebrates 100 years of sweet success". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 30 May 2021.
  7. ^ All about Milo.
  8. ^ "Nestles Milk Company". Sunday Times (Perth). No. 1915. Western Australia. 7 October 1934. p. 12 (First Section). Retrieved 28 April 2021 – via National Library of Australia.
  9. ^ "Nestle's exhibits at the show". Mirror. Vol. 13, no. 702. Western Australia. 12 October 1935. p. 23. Retrieved 28 April 2021 – via National Library of Australia.
  10. ^ Higman, B.W. (2011). How Food Made History. Wiley. p. 1889. ISBN 978-1-4443-4465-3. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  11. ^ Brewers' Society (London, England) (1963). Brewing Review. Brewing Publications. p. 416. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  12. ^ Lim, T.K. (2013). Edible Medicinal And Non-Medicinal Plants: Volume 5, Fruits. Springer Netherlands. p. 27. ISBN 978-94-007-5653-3. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  13. ^ "Milo sold in Singapore is made here, no counterfeit problems, say Nestle and retailers". The Straits Times. 16 March 2015. Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  14. ^ Guan Zhen Tan (8 December 2020). "Japan to stop selling Milo until March 2021 after viral tweet leads to high demand". mothership.sg. Retrieved 4 November 2021.
  15. ^ Ed (9 December 2020). "Japan suspends sale of Milo due to shortage of ingredients from Singapore". campus.sg. Retrieved 4 November 2021.
  16. ^ Mainichi Japan (9 December 2020). "Japan sales of Milo malt drink to be halted over difficulty obtaining imported ingredients". Mainichi Daily News. Retrieved 4 November 2021.
  17. ^ "What's in Milo?". Milo. Retrieved 30 May 2021.
  18. ^ "MILO® – MILO New Zealand". www.milo.co.nz. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  19. ^ "Glycemic Index for Milo (Nestlé, Australia) dissolved in water". Diet & Fitness Today. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  20. ^ "Shocking & Fun Facts You Should Know About Milo (Drink)". FoodsNG. 12 June 2015. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  21. ^ "What is Actigen-E?". Milkpowder is too Danger. 22 July 2008. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
  22. ^ "Caffeine and theobromine levels in selected Nigerian beverages". BioMedSearch. Archived from the original on 13 October 2016. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  23. ^ William Gervase Clarence-Smith (2000). Cocoa and Chocolate, 1765–1914. London: Routledge. pp. 10, 31. ISBN 0-415-21576-5.
  24. ^ Fuller, Thomas; O'Connor, Anahad; Richtel, Matt (23 December 2017). "In Asia's Fattest Country, Nutritionists Take Money From Food Giants". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 24 April 2021.
  25. ^ "Here's All You Need to Know About The Viral Milo Sugar Controversy". World of Buzz. 6 February 2018. Retrieved 24 April 2021.
  26. ^ Hong, Tan Heng (3 March 2018). "Milo drops health rating following pressure from health groups". Mini Me Insights. Retrieved 24 April 2021.
  27. ^ a b Reuters Staff (2 August 2016). "Nestle Philippines invests $43 mln in new Milo chocolate drink plant". U.S. Retrieved 24 November 2017. {{cite web}}: |author= has generic name (help)
  28. ^ a b Lacson, Nonoy E. (23 July 2017). "ARMM wants to supply Nestlé plant with cassava from Marawi and Lanao". Manila Bulletin News. Archived from the original on 23 February 2020. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  29. ^ "Nestlé Urges Kids to B-Smart". Can and Aerosol News. 13 August 2008. Archived from the original on 12 November 2016. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  30. ^ "Powders". MILO Australia. Retrieved 30 May 2021.
  31. ^ Cornall, Jim (8 April 2021). "Nestlé launches dairy free Milo in Asia". Dairy Reporter. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  32. ^ Knowles, Sarah (13 July 2015). "Nestle's new Milo recipe tested by a dietitian". Stuff.co.nz. Archived from the original on 28 July 2017. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  33. ^ "'Don't understand': Fitzy's surprise over Milo debate result". NewsComAu. 16 July 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  34. ^ "Nutrition Information: Desserts & Beverages". Kentucky Fried Chicken. Archived from the original on 11 November 2016. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  35. ^ "Nutrition Information: Beverages". McDonald's. Archived from the original on 20 February 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
  36. ^ [1] Archived 19 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  37. ^ "Kong Sihk Tong | Eat the World NYC". www.eattheworldnyc.com. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  38. ^ Pinch, Annika (22 March 2017). "From Roti Canai to Roti Milo: Malaysia Night 2017". Cornell Sun. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
  39. ^ "Food Tour Malaysia". Trip Advisor. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  40. ^ Jonas, Patrick (9 January 2009). "Nestled in Nicely". Tabla. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  41. ^ "10 things you never knew about MILO". NewsComAu. 15 April 2014. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  42. ^ "Nestle backs beverage 'belief' in Vietnam with $36m Milo investment". beveragedaily.com. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  43. ^ migration (16 March 2015). "Milo under the spotlight after fake products seized in Malaysia: 10 facts about Milo". The Straits Times. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  44. ^ "Cricket Australia and Milo celebrate 25 years of junior cricket". Nestle. 17 September 2017.
  45. ^ "Nestlé: Our transformational opportunity". Archived from the original on 5 December 2010. Retrieved 3 May 2009.
  46. ^ "Shahrir urges restaurants to lower price of Milo". The Star Online. Petaling Jaya. 24 February 2009. Retrieved 15 August 2013.[permanent dead link]
  47. ^ "Why does Milo from Milo vans taste different? Is there really a secret recipe? We tried to find out". CNA Lifestyle. Retrieved 3 February 2024.
  48. ^ Arkivperu (5 August 2013). ""Zoología botánica" de Milo (1973) |". Arkivperu.com. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
  49. ^ ""Zoología botánica" de Milo (1973)". Arkivperu. 2 December 2007. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  50. ^ Fung, Lynn (12 January 2012). "A History of Malted Milk". Tatler Hong Kong. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  51. ^ "Milo minus the milk". dairyreporter.com. 12 March 2020. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  52. ^ "Milo reintroduced". Archived from the original on 23 October 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  53. ^ Diyco, Nanette Franco. "Milo scores big on activation and false advocacy". BWorld News. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  54. ^ Company, Nestlé Alimentana (1975). Nestlé in the developing countries. Nestlé Alimentana S.A. pp. 100–101. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  55. ^ a b "Milo - Australian Chocolate Drink". h2g2: The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Earth Edition. 20 October 2006. Archived from the original on 12 August 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
  56. ^ "MILO". Nestlé. Retrieved 17 June 2021.
  57. ^ Koelma, Grace (24 July 2014). "Which of these discontinued foods do you want to see brought back?". NewsComAu. Retrieved 30 May 2021.
  58. ^ "Nestlé Milo Bar". Chocablog. 7 May 2007. Retrieved 17 June 2021.
  59. ^ "MILO snack bars". MILO.
  60. ^ "MILO Nuggets". Nestlé (in Spanish). Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  61. ^ "MILO NUGGETS". Nestlé Malaysia. Retrieved 17 June 2021.
  62. ^ "Nestlé Milo Chocolate And Malt Flavoured Wheat Balls Breakfast Cereal 330g". Tesco. Archived from the original on 17 September 2021. Retrieved 17 June 2021. Search results for "Milo" Archived 24 June 2021 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]