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Milk From March 2010 newsletter

Consumer acceptability of reduced fat milk

We have been instrumental in helping Dairy UK assess likely consumer reaction to new grades of reduced-fat milk.

Understanding this reaction is a critical part of Dairy UK's strategy for helping the sector to better meet consumer needs, as Dr. Ed Komorowski,Technical Director of Dairy UK, explains. "Changes in EU legislation now allow more flexible marketing of milk. This was previously restricted to whole milk at 3.6% fat, semi-skimmed milk at 1.6% and skimmed milk at 0.5% fat - even though a wider range of fat contents, and consumer choices, is perfectly feasible. These changes help the sector respond to the drive by the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) to reduce consumers' consumption of saturated fat."

Dairy UK commissioned us to look at both sensory and consumer aspects of reduced fat milks. Despite pre-test reservations about potential loss of taste in reduced fat milks, after tasting the reduced fat versions most focus group respondents were pleasantly surprised that the test samples delivered taste and texture at least as acceptable as the standard milks. Quantitative studies showed that there was no real preference for either whole or semi-skimmed milk over their corresponding reduced fat alternatives.

The project provided Dairy UK with the information it needed to support the sector it serves, and illustrates just one of the ways we are able to help with product reformulation issues.

Contact: Peter Burgess
+44(0)1386 842122