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Friday, 14 June 2013 15:33

Lightproof milk bottles winning over consumers

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CONSUMER RESISTANCE to Fonterra’s new lightproof plastic milk bottles is waning, says the co-op.


Anchor milk went on sale in the bottles on April 8; sales have since risen 10% and store trials with 40,000 people are said to have shown 80% like the flavour of milk.

Fonterra Brands group marketing manager New Zealand Craig Irwin says he can understand the “initial noise”.  

“Anything we do with our big brands gets a lot of scrutiny,” he told Dairy News.  “That’s understandable but Kiwis are quickly getting on with buying Anchor milk in the new bottles. We’re happy with the way things are progressing.”

Irwin rules out a return to plastic see-through bottles. 

Consumers’ biggest gripe is they cannot see how much milk is left. Irwin acknowledges this. Fonterra looked at putting a see-through strip on the bottles’ sides. But even that much light would have affected the milk.

Fonterra identified light as the ‘enemy’ of milk – breaking down its fresh taste and natural goodness. Light damage can’t be reversed; once started it does not stop impacting flavour. 

Writing in the New Zealand Herald this month, Fonterra Brands New Zealand managing director Peter McClure said people ask him “why we solved a problem that didn’t exist”.

“The answer is easy. If you’ve ever opened the milk bottle and taken a sniff to decide whether it’s fresh or not, one of the things you’re checking for is light damage.

“You just didn’t know it. Light damage is what produces that ‘off’ smell, which happens when it interacts with vitamins A and B2 and breaks them down. That process also degrades the nutrient content of your milk, not just the smell and taste.

“Once your milk makes it to the fridge, it is fairly well protected from milk’s two main enemies – heat and light. But the damage by light has been done long before your milk makes it home, and the darkness of your fridge cannot undo it.”

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