It pointed to Fonterra-owned Anchor, which four years ago launched light-proof bottles in response to research showing “light can cause damage to vitamin B2 and A,” the company said on its website.
However, Consumer NZ tested five trim milk brands – Anchor, Home Brand, Meadow Fresh, Pams and Signature Range – and its results show minor differences in vitamin A and B2 content.
Meadow Fresh sells its milk in “semi-opaque” bottles, while the other three brands have transparent containers.
No impact on intake
Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin said the tiny differences between the brands had no significant impact on the overall vitamin intake of a person on a balanced diet.
“When we asked Fonterra for evidence of the nutritional superiority of milk stored in a light-proof bottle, it agreed there wasn’t any,” Chetwin said.
“We think consumers reading the company’s claims about vitamin content might be misled into thinking Anchor milk in light-proof bottles has a dietary advantage over its competitors.”
Consumer NZ said Fonterra has since changed the description on the Anchor website to refer to the taste difference of milk in light-proof bottles instead of a nutritional benefit.
Fonterra told Consumer NZ it had run two blind taste tests with consumers tasting light-protected and light-exposed milk, with seven out of 10 preferring light-protected milk.
However, other companies are producing products for the dairy industry to prevent light from reaching the products.
Earlier this year, at the Duxes Dairy China Summit in Beijing, packaging company PolyOne presented an update to its light-blocking technology for liquid dairy packaging in response to the shelf-life of UHT dairy products making them more susceptible to light-induced oxidation.
It said light-induced oxidation can cause degradation in dairy products and a decrease in nutritional quality.
Vitamins A, B2 (riboflavin), D and amino acids become lost, lipids (milk fats) oxidize, and off-flavors can develop.