Sainsbury to push one per cent milk

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition, Milk, Obesity

Sainsbury's launch of an own-brand one per cent fat milk highlights
the product's move into the mainstream dairy market, just a year
after the implementation of new EU rules regarding the fat content
of milk.

The launch of the one per cent milk, already well established in the US and Canada, is a first for a private label brand within the UK market. It comes as the nation's food and beverage industry is increasingly stepping up to growing concerns over obesity and heart health. Sainsbury's announcement follows changes made to EU laws last year on defining milk fat content, and has been welcomed by the UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA). Previous rules only allowed the sale of skimmed, semi-skimmed and whole milk in the bloc. The FSA said that while one per cent fat milk contained only half the fat of semi-skimmed milk, it retained the same levels of calcium and vitamin B. FSA verdict ​ Rosemary Hignett, who is head of nutrition at the agency, said that the launch could therefore offer the entire dairy industry a new means to formulate products with improved health credentials, while also reducing the risk of health problems like obesity. "Dairy products, including milk, make an important contribution to a balanced diet, as illustrated by the eatwell plate,"​ she stated. "However, we are all eating too much saturated fat, meaning that current intakes of saturated fat are above Government recommendations."​ Saturated fats consumption has been linked to a higher risk of developing heart disease, and have been a particular concern to the dairy industry. Milk definition ​The EU agreed to new rules back in September regarding milk fat content in order to beef up the promotion of dairy as part of a nutritious diet. Under the new rules, milk classification will also be liberalised to account for growing consumer demand for lower fat dairy products. The EU had previously allowed for only three categories of milk on the market - skimmed milk, semi-skimmed and whole milk. The industry, as a result, will be encouraged to develop products outside of these categories, providing that fat content is sufficiently labelled on the packaging. Health promotions ​ In the last few months, the dairy industry has moved to promote dairy products as a major part of a healthy diet, amidst growing consumer and regulatory concerns over issues like obesity, heart and dental health. Back in January, a number of leading dairy experts claimed that the industry was "unfairly​ blamed for contributing to the growing worldwide obesity crises, and that its businesses needed to do more to promote the dietary benefits of its products. However, national health charity The British Heart Foundation stressed that no one type of food or beverage product could ensure a healthy diet alone. A spokesperson for the charity said that a balanced diet, reliant on no one particular food stuff, therefore remained the best way for consumers to stave off obesity.

Related topics: Markets, Fresh Milk

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