Banana-Milk Showdown: Binggrae vs. Cowhead

Which drink wins the banana-milk battle?

PHOTO BY Patricia Baes ILLUSTRATION Warren Espejo

(SPOT.ph) You can find milk drinks in all sorts of flavors from chocolate to melon, but there's something especially charming about banana milk. It's well-known in Korea, with one popular brand being Binggrae. The brand has been around since the '70s and continues to be a favorite to this day—so much so that around six billion bottles have been sold in Korea since its launch.

With its growing popularity, of course, comes competition. You'll find plenty of other banana milk brands in Korea; and here in the Philippines, one brand that has launched their own version recently is Cowhead. But how do the two brands compare—and could Cowhead in fact knock Binggrae off the banana-milk throne?

Binggrae Banana Milk is a well-loved beverage in Korea.
PHOTO BY Patricia Baes
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Cowhead's version is a relative newcomer to the local scene.
PHOTO BY Patricia Baes
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Accessibility

Binggrae's version is available not only in Korean marts, but in local shops as well. We got ours from Landers Supermarket, but you can also find it at convenience stores like FamilyMart and 7-Eleven. Cowhead is available at Landers Supermarket, but we haven't seen it anywhere else.

Looks and Taste

While Binggrae traditionally comes in a plastic bottle that somewhat resembles a jar, the version we get locally comes in tetra packs with a bright-yellow and green color theme. Cowhead comes in tetra packs with a pale-yellow and white theme. Both drinks come with their own straws, making them easy to bring around and consume anywhere.

Taste-wise, Binggrae's version has a creamier flavor profile and fuller mouthfeel. While it's on the sugary side, the creaminess rounds the sweetness out. We'd compare its banana flavor to that of Cavendish bananas: not quite tangy the way lakatan or other Filipino bananas can be (and slightly artificial) but still enjoyable. With its richness and sweetness, this drink can be cloying after a while, but it's nevertheless delicious and hard to put down.

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Cowhead's version is thinner and less sweet, and while it's still milky, it's not as creamy as Binggrae's. The banana flavor is also slightly artificial, but it comes out stronger perhaps due to there being less creaminess to take over. Its relative lack of richness isn't necessarily a bad thing—we'd say it makes for a refreshing beverage that you can drink more of without the heavy feeling sinking in.

Price

Binggrae costs P284.75 for a pack of six 200-ml boxes, thus coming down to P47.46 a box. Cowhead, on the other hand, costs P90.75 for a pack of three 200-ml boxes, and thus costs P30.25 a box. Cowhead comes out as a cheaper option for banana-milk lovers.

Final Thoughts

Both brands have their merits: Binggrae is for those looking for a creamier, sweeter drink (think melted ice cream), while Cowhead is for those looking for a less-sweet, more drinkable and refreshing sip (think banana smoothie). Torn as we may be, in the end, Binggrae's luxe-on-the-tongue consistency wins us over.

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