Consumers Ready To Consider One Per Cent Fat Milk

UK - People who regularly use semi-skimmed milk would be happy to switch to drinking one per cent fat milk, according to research published by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), which coincides with the launch of the second phase of its saturated fat campaign.
calendar icon 18 January 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

One per cent fat milk, which is on sale in most supermarkets, contains about half the fat of semi-skimmed. Dr Clair Baynton, Head of Nutrition at the FSA, said: ‘In the 1970s full-fat milk was very much the norm, but since then we have seen a decisive shift to semi-skimmed, which now outsells full-fat by quite a margin.

‘Our research shows that people are prepared to consider switching to one per cent fat milk and those who regularly use semi-skimmed like the taste as much. We tend to use milk on a daily basis so this small step will make a big contribution to reducing our saturated fat.

‘One per cent fat milk still gives us the important nutritional benefits of milk, including calcium, protein, minerals and vitamins, but with half the fat of semi. Something that simple but beneficial has got to be worth trying!’

Whole milk is, on average, 3.5 per cent fat, while semi-skimmed is about 1.7 per cent and skimmed is 0.1 per cent fat. One per cent fat milk is suitable for adults and children from five years of age. The UK-wide survey of consumer attitudes to one per cent fat milk found that three-quarters of consumers liked the taste just as much as semi-skimmed. The research involved an at-home trial period (about five days) with households substituting semi-skimmed for one per cent fat milk.

It found that while 56 per cent were able to taste a difference, 94 per cent or more found it to be an acceptable alternative across a range of uses, including in hot drinks, on cereal, as a drink on its own, in milkshakes and in cooking. And 85 per cent of those who gave it to their children said they did not notice the switch when given the lower-fat milk.

In any one day, many people will have milk with their cereal, in their tea and coffee, in home-made sauces and puddings and so on. This could easily amount to about half a pint (around 300ml) a day, or over two litres a week. If someone was using whole milk, this would mean about 80g of total fat a week, while using semi-skimmed would reduce this to 40g. Switching to one per cent would halve the total fat again, to just 20g.

The Agency has launched the second phase of its saturated fat campaign today, following on from the initial launch in February last year. This phase of the campaign, which features press, poster and radio advertising, centres on simple tips to help people cut down on saturated fat. It includes a new print and poster ad that will encourage people to think about switching to one per cent fat milk.

Over time a diet high in saturated fat can raise cholesterol levels in the blood, which is a risk factor for heart disease. Coronary heart disease causes over 90,000 deaths a year in the UK: approximately one in five deaths in men and one in six deaths in women.

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