There's little difference in nutrient content between major milk brands, despite claims light-proofed containers protect the vitamins in milk, Consumer NZ testing reveals.
Fonterra-owned Anchor launched light-proof bottles four years ago, in response to research showing “light can cause damage to vitamin B2 and A”, the company said on its website.
Anchor stated: “This isn't good. Why? Well, because vitamin A is important in aiding healthy eyesight and immune system, whereas vitamin B2 helps your body turn food into fuel helping you feel less tired and run down.”
Consumer NZ testing of five trim milk brands – Anchor, Home Brand, Meadow Fresh, Pams and Signature Range – shows miniscule differences in vitamin A and B2 content. Meadow Fresh sells its milk in “semi-opaque” bottles, the other three brands have transparent containers.
The tiny differences between the brands had no significant impact on the overall vitamin intake of a person eating a balanced diet, says Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin.
“When we asked Fonterra for evidence of the nutritional superiority of milk stored in a light-proof bottle, it agreed there wasn't any,” says Sue.
“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.”
Fonterra has now changed the description on the Anchor website to refer to the taste difference of milk in light-proof bottles instead of a nutritional benefit.
“There's little excuse for a company the size of Fonterra to be using claims that are unclear or may potentially mislead consumers,” says Sue.
Consumer NZ tested varieties of trim milk as experiments referred to on Anchor's website concluded lower-fat milk was the most susceptible to vitamin A degradation.
Full test results and more information is available at the consumer website and in the August edition of Consumer magazine.