'Value-Added' emerges in another light in the dairy caseUmpqua Dairy's opaque-white plastic jugs protect milk's taste, quality from oxidation.
Umpqua Dairy Products Co., Roseburg, Ore., joins the ranks of milk marketers adding value to containers to attract consumers and gain an edge in a commodity category.
The independent, family-operated dairy, in business since 1931, holds a reputation as an innovative marketer. It is showcasing that status by rolling out "light-blocking," opaque-white plastic containers for its Umpqua Dairy premium brand of milk.
"The white jug is our way of ensuring that consumers get the best-tasting milk possible," says Steve Feldkamp, Executive Vice President. He explains that the dairy wanted to:
Maintain the rich taste of its milk, which dairy farms in southern Oregon produce.
Protect the milk's healthful vitamins from degradation.
The innovative opaque-white jug emerges from study on the effects of light on milk's flavor and nutritional value. Research conducted by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University concludes that fluorescent light, often found in retail store dairy cases, begins to degrade milk as it penetrates clear-plastic jugs.
Light's effect in the dairy case
Cornell University researchers found that even when fluorescent light is moderate inside a dairy case, it creates wavelengths that pass through clear-plastic milk jugs. The wavelengths induce oxidation and create a distinct off-flavor taste in milk, the research finds.
Both the taste and quality of milk diminish as essential vitamins, including vitamin A, riboflavin (B2) and vitamin C begin to break down.
Umpqua's new jugs deflect fluorescent light.
"By blocking out harmful UV light rays, consumers can be sure that Umpqua Dairy milk retains its nutritional benefits while maintaining its flavor," Feldkamp says.
The light-blocking container adds .004 cent to the total packaging cost. The dairy has opted against reflecting this added cost in the products' retail price.
Using light-blocking opaque jugs is a different tactic in value-added milk packaging. A number of containers have focused on shape—such as ribbed, circular plastic molds to improve gripping—to break through in a crowded category.
What's old is new
Umpqua dairy is rolling out new packaging to coincide with the opaque-white jug's rollout. The dairy wanted a design to match the products' quality distinction.
Roseburg-based graphics company Creative Images responded with a more contemporary label design. It reintroduces the brand's signature icon, the Umpqua Dairy Indian, in making the logo the label's focal point.
The opaque-white plastic serves the dual purpose of creating a rich background that lets the label shimmer through the glass doors of store dairy cases. BPu
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