Milk Link makes functional milk for Tesco
with the addition of a new semi-skimmed product enhanced with a
variety of vitamins and other added nutrients.
Tesco's functional milk range already included an own-label product containing Reducol plant sterols for cholesterol-management, launched last year. The new product, developed with farmer-owned cooperative Milk Milk, contains a mixture of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B1, B6, C, D and E, folic acid, inulin and niacin. It is a clear example of how a food category that already has a healthy aura makes an ideal vehicle for added nutrients. According to the cooperative, it "tastes just like milk should, but gives consumers a healthy boost to their vitamins, mineral and fibre levels". Indeed, formulators have previously struggled with the addition of certain strong-tasting nutrients to milk, but new technologies, such as encapsulation, are helping. However some people argue, in the context of European level over the maximum levels of vitamins and minerals for fortified foods, that a more measured or cohesive approach to fortification is called for. In the UK, many people consume their recommended quota of milk with breakfast cereal – and breakfast cereal is an established vehicle for added vitamins and minerals, so much so that many consumers do not consider this when making purchasing decisions. In response to the EC discussion document on setting maximum levels for vitamins and minerals for supplements and food products, some stakeholders last year expressed concern that consumers are not always aware that they are buying fortified foods. This, they said, means that there is a need to establish separate levels for foods and for supplements, and to consider the accumulative levels in case they should exceed those accepted as safe. The precise level of fortification in the Milk Link product are not known.