A Food Standards Agency (FSA) survey has found that the overwhelming majority of UK consumers consider one per cent milk to be an acceptable alternative to semi skimmed.
Well established in Canada and the US, one per cent milk is a relatively new concept in the UK. It sits in between skimmed and semi-skimmed options in terms of fat content and is seen by the FSA as an effective tool in the fight to reduce consumption of saturated fats.
To gauge consumer attitudes to one per cent milk, the FSA conducted five day home trials at households across the UK, substituting semi-skimmed for one per cent milk.
While 56 per cent of survey respondents said they could taste the difference, 94 per cent said they considered one per cent milk to be an acceptable alternative.
Clair Baynton, head of nutrition at the FSA, said: “Our research shows that people are prepared to consider switching to one per cent fat milk and those who regularly use semi-skimmed like the taste as much.”
The publication of the survey marks the beginning of a £1.65m promotional campaign to persuade companies and consumers alike to make the switch to one per cent milk.
With a slightly higher fat content than skimmed milk (max 0.5 per cent) but a lower fat content than semi-skimmed (1.5–1.8 per cent), one per cent milk is seen by the FSA as a an effective way to reduce consumption of saturated fat in the UK.
Because milk is so widely and regularly drunk in the country, a widespread shift towards lower fat milk options would make a big difference to overall fat intake.
Baynton said: “We tend to use milk on a daily basis so this small step will make a big contribution to reducing our saturated fat.”
For someone drinking two litres of milk a week, the FSA said switching from semi skimmed to one per cent milk would result in a reduction in fat consumption of 20g a week.
One per cent milk is beginning to gain ground on supermarket shelves in the UK. Last autumn Sainsbury’s said that just over a year after launching the UK’s first private label version of the milk, one per cent varieties now account for10 per cent of its milk sales.
The supermarket predicts that sales of the milk will continue to grow and will overtake those of skimmed milk by spring 2010 and of full-fat milk shortly afterwards.