HP Hood Is First To Offer Vitamin C Fortified Milk in Opaque Plastic Bottles That Protect Flavor and Nutrition

New Product is Latest Innovation from New England's Premier Dairy

Oct 20, 1997, 01:00 ET from HP Hood

    CHELSEA, Mass., Oct. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Milk may be the stuff of strong
 bones and healthy teeth but the beverage itself is delicate.  Food scientists
 have known for decades that light can damage milk's flavor and nutrients.
 Translucent plastic bottles, which are widely favored by consumers because of
 convenience and account for more than 85 percent of all milk sales, provide
 little protection against light damage.
     Now HP Hood, New England's premier dairy, is the first in the region to
 offer milk in an opaque, plastic LightBlock Bottle(TM) that protects both
 flavor and nutrients.  Making the product still more nutritious is the fact
 that all Hood milk is now fortified with a significant level of vitamin C --
 an eight ounce glass provides 25 percent of the recommended daily value for
 vitamin C.  While some dairies in other regions offer colored plastic bottles,
 Hood is the only dairy to offer  consumers the benefits of a pigmented, light
 protective plastic bottle and vitamin C fortification.
     In developing this new product, Hood was seeking to do no less than
 "reinvent milk," according to Jeff Stephen, Hood's executive vice president
 and chief operating officer.  "Hood milk was already acknowledged as the
 premium milk in New England," he said.  "We were faced with the task of making
 a great food more perfect.  We are doing this in three ways: We have developed
 a LightBlock BottleTM that is seven times more effective in blocking harmful
 light than conventional translucent plastic bottles, we have enriched our milk
 with vitamin C to create a 'power drink,' and we have created a unique gallon
 bottle design that is more contemporary and easy to pour."
     "Since 1895 when Hood introduced pasteurization of milk to the Northeast,
 we have been known for innovation in the dairy industry.  Extending that
 tradition of innovation was one of our priorities when we purchased the
 company almost two years ago," said John Kaneb, president of HP Hood.  "Now,
 we are proud to be the first dairy to offer consumers vitamin C fortified milk
 in packaging that protects its quality while also offering the convenience of
 gallon and half gallon plastic jugs."
     Hood Vice President of Research & Development Don Erickson, who has guided
 the development of Hood products for more than 36 years, compares producing
 milk to developing a great tasting wine.  "Milk, like wine,  has to be handled
 with care from start to finish," he explained.  "Good tasting milk starts with
 proper feed and care for the dairy cows, careful processing, and proper
 handling by the retailer and the consumer.  Putting Hood milk into LightBlock
 Bottles(TM) is an important step we can take to help ensure that our milk has
 the best possible taste."
     Without proper protection, milk can easily be damaged.  "More than
 50 studies by scientists in the United States, Canada, and Europe since the
 middle of this century have concluded that light -- artificial and natural
 --  damages milk," said Sidney Barnard, retired professor of food science
 at Pennsylvania State University who has studied the effect of light on milk
 for many years.   "When exposed to even 20 minutes of sunlight, milk in
 translucent plastic containers begins to develop a tallowy, woody or ox
 idized taste.  In some studies, half or more of the milk samples had
 pronounced light induced flavors when sampled within 36 hours of purchase,
 and three out of four consumers found these off flavors objectionable."
     The damage goes far beyond poor flavor, according to Professor David
 Bandler of Cornell University, Food Science Extension. "Light exposure
 destroys many nutrients, including vitamins A,  C, and B2 (riboflavin).
 Nutritional losses due to light may be severe.  For example, up to 50
 percent of some vitamins may be lost after 24 hours of exposure to
 fluorescent light.  Sunlight is even more destructive.  Pigmented plastic
 jugs protect milk's nutrition."
     Hood's decision to fortify its new milk with  vitamin C is a significant
 innovation,  according to Liz Ward, registered dietitian, author, and
 consultant to HP Hood.  "Vitamin C contributes to health in many ways,"
 she said. "It promotes bone health, it is an antioxidant, and it helps
 keep the immune system strong. Yet, according to the USDA, more than
 40 percent of adults do not get the recommended daily allowance of this
 important vitamin."
     "Now consumers can drink a glass of milk and get a significant amount of
 vitamin C as well as the many other essential vitamins and minerals that
 milk provides," Ms Ward continued.  "The LightBlock Bottle(TM) also gives
 consumers assurance that these nutrients are protected against light
 damage, and they will, in fact, receive the maximum possible nutrition
 from the milk they buy."
     Tests by Cornell University and independent laboratories confirm that the
 bottle blocks damaging light seven times more effectively than the
 conventional translucent gallon bottle; reduces losses of vitamins A, C,
 and B2 (riboflavin), and protects flavor.
     Hood's new LightBlock Bottle(TM) is the result of nearly a year of
 extensive planning and testing.  The blown mold plastic containers feature an
 opaque white color, the color preferred by 74 percent of consumers; an
 easy pour handle on the gallon bottle; sleeker, more contemporary styling;
 and larger, brighter new labels.  While the LightBlock Bottle(TM) offers a
 striking new look, it fits in standard