Fonterra has changed the description on its Anchor website in relation to its light proofed milk containers after Consumer New Zealand testing showed little nutritional difference resulting from the opaque packaging.

Consumer New Zealand released the results of its testing on the efficacy of light proofed containers protecting the vitamins in milk and, unfortunately for Fonterra, the testing revealed little difference in nutrient content between major milk brands.

Fonterra-owned Anchor launched light-proof bottles four years ago, in response to research showing that light can cause damage to vitamin B2 and A, according to the company’s website.

Consumer New Zealand tested five trim milk brands: Anchor, Home Brand, Meadow Fresh, Pams and Signature Range. The results showed miniscule differences in vitamin A and B2 content. Meadow Fresh sells its milk in semi-opaque bottles, the other three brands have transparent containers. It tested varieties of trim milk because experiments referred to on Anchor’s website concluded lower-fat milk was the most susceptible to vitamin A degradation.

Sue Chetwin, chief executive at Consumer New Zealand, says the tiny differences between the brands had no significant impact on the overall vitamin intake of a person eating a balanced diet.

She says, “When we asked Fonterra for evidence of the nutritional superiority of milk stored in a light-proof bottle, it agreed there wasn’t any. 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.”

On its web site, Fonterra now refers to the taste difference of milk in light-proof bottles instead of a nutritional benefit. Chetwin adds, “There’s little excuse for a company the size of Fonterra to be using claims that are unclear or may potentially mislead consumers.”

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