Light-emitting diode (LED) light options have been touted as game changers in efficiency and energy savings. The well-approved option for the environment also may carry benefits for milk flavor, according to a recent study from Virginia Tech.
The research team assessed light oxidation’s effect on consumer preference and paired that research with evaluation of packaging types and lighting options.
Across the board, milk exposed to LED lights for four hours performed much better in the taste tests than milk stored for the same amount of time under the conventional fluorescent light.
As the scientists explained, most of this preference can be associated with light oxidation of nutrients, including riboflavin, which is one of the vitamins contained within milk. They explained that untrained consumers are able to detect light-oxidized off-flavors in fluorescent exposed milk after just two hours.
LED lights also improved the acceptability of milk’s aftertaste in comparison to fluorescents.
The study showed that protective packaging options such as the addition of light-blocking pigments to the traditional translucent milk jug reduced the likelihood of oxidation. That was true in both common retail packaging options, high-density polyethylene, and polyethylene terephthalate.
The researchers suggest changes in lighting in the milk case may provide flavor protection for milk, improving consumer opinions of the beverage.