Half of British consumers don’t understand long life milk, Tetra Pak research finds

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Almost half of Brits don’t fully understand what long life milk is and are oblivious to many of the benefits it offers, according to new research from Tetra Pak.

At the same time, the vast majority of people (79%) are pouring milk down the drain because it has gone off before they are able to use it all. 

It seems a lack of understanding of what long life milk is made of and its nutritional benefits are at the heart of this confusion, with nearly 50% per cent (48%) incorrectly thinking it isn’t as good as chilled milk and nearly two fifths (37%) inaccurately believing it has preservatives added to it to make it last longer, Tetra Pak found. Most surprisingly, one in 10 (12%) wrongly believe it isn’t real milk.

In fact, long life milk has nothing added to it or taken away and is the same as chilled milk, said Tetra Pak. It is simply heated to a higher temperature to extend its life; a process which does not affect the goodness of the milk.

Three quarters (75%) of consumers admit they find it ‘really annoying’ when they are caught short without milk, and in the last two weeks alone this has happened to over 21m people (34%). One of the main benefits of long life milk is the convenience and practicality of its long shelf life, yet nearly two-thirds (64%) of consumers have never or only rarely used it, and eight in 10 (79%) do not know it can be stored, without needing to be refrigerated, for over six months.

On top of this, 82% don’t know it’s best to chill it in the fridge before drinking it, suggesting many people have been drinking it lukewarm, which is not ideal because it tastes much better chilled, said Tetra Pak.

Andrew Smith, marketing manager at Tetra Pak UK & Ireland, said: “Long life milk has some clear benefits that we know people would find useful. For example, nearly half (46%) of those we spoke to in our research said they would be more likely to buy it once they realised it can help them save money and cut food waste. That’s why we want to debunk some of the myths and misunderstandings that might be stopping people taking advantage of it. Keeping a supply in your cupboard to supplement your chilled milk can not only help you cut your waste, but also gives you the peace of mind of knowing you won’t ever be caught short without milk.”

Poor milk habits mean people often end up throwing milk away because it has gone off before they can use it all. Despite three in five (60%) saying we feel guilty doing it, over a third (35%) have poured milk away in the last month alone. WRAP estimates, as a nation, we waste 360,000 tonnes a milk a year, costing us £280m. Using both chilled and long life milk can not only ensure people always have a supply of milk available when they need it, but can also significantly reduce the amount of milk they waste, said Tetra Pak.

Emma Marsh, head of Love Food Hate Waste, said: “Food waste is a serious problem that not only costs us money but damages the environment, too. For many of us, milk is an essential item that we don’t want to be without, but we end up wasting a lot it. Keeping a supply of long life milk in the cupboard is one way to help you manage your milk better, cut down your waste and save money.”