Initial feedback from a trial in Ohio suggests milk fine filtered to remove ‘impurities’ could be a big hit with US consumers, claims Dean Foods subsidiary WhiteWave Foods.
Simply Pure Milk, which is manufactured in Jacksonville, Florida, has been on trial in around 125 stores in the Columbus, Ohio, area since early August, WhiteWave director of innovation Linda Zink told FoodNavigator-USA.
“It’s too early to talk about roll out plans yet; we’ll need to wait a few months first, but we’re really excited as the response has been really positive. It tastes terrific and we think it could take a reasonable share of the market.”
She added: “We spent a lot of time looking at where fine filtered milk has been successful, in Canada [Natrel] and the UK [Cravendale], and felt that there had to be an opportunity here in the US as well.”
First national fine filtered milk brand?
While there were some “niche regional filtered milk products” available in the US, White Wave had ambitions to create the first national fine filtered brand with Simply Pure, said Zink, who has been work on sampling campaigns with cookies this week.
While other fine filtered milk products such as Cravendale have a longer shelf-life because bacteria that cause the milk to go sour are filtered out, Simply Pure did not have a longer shelf-life than conventional long-life milk, said Zink.
The key selling point was its fresher taste, and the fact that impurities have been removed during a filtering process prior to pasteurization, said Zink.
“All milk comes from the farm containing impurities such as yeast, bacteria, cellular material and other matter. By law, milk must be pasteurized – a heating process that deactivates naturally occurring impurities, allowing a longer shelf-life.
"Simply Pure's fine filter traps and removes coarse natural impurities such as non-nutritional matter and cellular material, including many of the somatic cells found in unprocessed milk.The benefit to consumers then is that these impurities which may affect taste and freshness have been removed."
A new choice in the dairy case
The impurities were not a safety issue, she stressed, but could affect taste. “We’re giving consumers in the US a new choice in the dairy case. We’re not saying Simply Pure is safer. We're just saying impurities naturally found in the milk are removed to give a fresher taste.”
She would not say what kind of costs might be involved from a manufacturing perspective should the milk be rolled out on a national basis.
WhiteWave Foods was created in 2004 when Dean Foods consolidated Horizon Organic, White Wave Inc and much of its Dean National Branded Group into one organization.