The LIGHT PROOF bottle is the product of more than three years of work by the innovation team at Anchor – Fonterra’s flagship fresh milk brand in New Zealand. Anchor initiated the project after it identified the degrading effect light can have on fresh milk.
Anchor realised that protecting milk from light not only preserves the taste of fresh milk, it also maintains the value of key nutrients such as vitamins A and B2.
The “key” to the innovation was to add two more layers to the existing design, said Fonterra. The inside and outside layers are opaque white, a feature designed to make the bottle recognisable on the shelf, while the middle layer is black – blocking out 100% of light.
Fonterra has heralded the innovation as a “game changer” for the New Zealand fresh milk market.
“Protect the taste and goodness of fresh milk”
“This innovation is great news for consumers who will not enjoy a better tasting milk and cream, and it is a game-changer for the fresh milk market,” said Fonterra Brands New Zealand managing director, Peter McClure. “Anchor has developed a way to actually protect the taste and goodness of fresh milk, which the average New Zealander consumes at a rate of about 1.8 litres per week.”
“Our bottles now do a better job of protecting what’s inside, and delivering milk and cream that tastes the way it was intended to before it has been impacted by light,” said McClure.
According to Fonterra, around 7% of all fresh milk is thrown away because consumers think its smells “off.” Commenting on the development, Fonterra Brands New Zealand group marketing manager, Craig Irwin, said he hoped the light-proof innovation would help to reverse that trend.
“In order to judge freshness, a lot of consumers habitually ‘sniff test’ their milk before it goes into the glass, coffee cup or cereal bowl,” he said. “But what people are smelling is typically the result of light damage.”
Commonly used gable top cartons and white opaque bottles allow between 7% and 25% of light through, said Fonterra. This is more than enough to begin the irreversible light damage process, it added.
“This is enough to kick off the process of light damage generating noticeable changes in taste within two days, and ultimately generating a failed ‘sniff test’,” said Fonterra Brands New Zealand group marketing manager, Craig Irwin.
Consumer and barista taste approval
Alongside the development, Anchor also conducted taste test among consumers.
The home trial, which involved the participation of families in New Zealand, found that 63% of buyers would re-purchase the protected milk. Baristas also gave the LIGHT PROOF milk their approval, with seven out of 10 preferring the taste.
While the LIGHT PROOF innovation uses three layers of recyclable HDPE, Fonterra has claimed that the bottle is of a similar weight to the single-layer bottle Anchor fresh milk bottle it will replace.
Anchor brand milk and cream in the new bottle are set to be rolled out in New Zealand from 8 April 2013.
DairyReporter.com approached Fonterra for further information regarding the development but no reply was forthcoming prior to publication.