Hum­ble milk bot­tle goes state-of-the-art


Fon­terra has re­vealed what it claims is its ‘‘great­est ever’’ milk in­no­va­tion – light-proof plas­tic bot­tles to keep milk fresher, tastier and more nu­tri­tious.

The gi­ant dairy co­op­er­a­tive will roll out new matt white bot­tles across its en­tire An­chor-branded range of milk and cream from April 8.

Heat and light could both de­grade milk qual­ity and lead to the sour milk taste fa­mil­iar to a gen­er­a­tion of adults who drank warm milk in schools, Fon­terra said.

While su­per­mar­ket chillers and re­frig­er­ated truck­ing kept the tem­per­a­ture reg­u­lated to­day, con­stant ex­po­sure to flu­o­res­cent light­ing still took its toll.

The ex­po­sure caused chem­i­cal re­ac­tions that could change the pro­teins and fats and cre­ate a range of un­savoury flavours, in­clud­ing card­board, me­tal­lic, and burnt protein, Fon­terra said.

Its re­sponse had been to de­sign an opaque milk bot­tle made of three lay­ers of plas­tic – a white in­te­rior and ex­te­rior sand­wich­ing a black sheet of plas­tic.

Man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Peter McClure ac­knowl­edged it might not look like much, but reck­oned the new bot­tle was a real game-changer.

He said that as far as Fon­terra knew, the in­no­va­tion was a world­first.

The com­pany’s mar­ket re­search found that seven out of 10 peo­ple pre­ferred the taste of the light-proof milk.

But Fairfax milk con­nois­seurs at­tend­ing an Auck­land launch event were not so sure.

The nor­mal milk tasted creamier and had a slightly stronger af­ter­taste, but was not nec­es­sar­ily un­pleas­ant.

The dairy gi­ant also claimed the milk was more nu­tri­tious, as vi­ta­mins were of­ten di­min­ished af­ter just two days of light ex­po­sure.

Fon­terra’s in­no­va­tion man­ager for bev­er­ages Olaf van Daalen ex­plained that light dam­aged vi­ta­min B2, for ex­am­ple, which went on to re­act with pro­teins and fats and change the taste.

He said his finely tuned taste­buds could de­tect a dif­fer­ence in the space of min­utes of sun­light ex­po­sure, or a cou­ple of hours of ar­ti­fi­cial light.

A 2004 study from the United States found that mea­sur­able vi­ta­min A losses oc­curred at two hours for non-fat milk, four hours for re­duced fat and 16 hours for whole milk.

Van Daalen said An­chor would not change its re­tail price for its newly pack­aged milk, and it was up to su­per­mar­kets to set fi­nal pric­ing. Fairfax NZ

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