Topical Area: Nutrition Education and Behavioral Science
Light exposure of packaged foods during their distribution, retailing, and consumer use can degrade product nutrient content as well as visual appearance and taste. Changes to food nutrients caused by light may negatively alter their functionality, bioavailability, and efficacy. Proper package design consideration may protect nutrients and sensory quality and is important for delivering health value and positive eating experience. Dairy milk is a food category of interest due its vulnerability to nutrient degradation with light exposure. Our research aims to quantify the impacts of light on milk nutrients to elucidate the role of packaging for nutrient preservation of dairy milk.
A patented method was used to determine a Light Protection Factor (LPF) to quantify light protection performance of the study packaging materials. The method provides light exposure to the packaging under evaluation and monitors a light sensitive marker solution to then determine the LPF value. Aqueous riboflavin (RF) solution was chosen as the marker in our study as it is a leading indicator of milk nutrient and sensory decline.
Each of four light protection packaging treatments was measured by use of the LPF methodology. The impact of light on the nutrient content of extended-shelf-life milk was observed over a month in a simulated retail storage environment (fluorescently lighted refrigerator case, 2,186 lux, 3 C) as a function of these light protection packaging treatments. LPF light protective performances of packaging treatments were correlated to RF preservation of packaged milks through the study (R2 > 0.95). The highest LPF packaging treatment (LPF 64) preserved milk RF at 83% of its initial level through the study whereas the control packaging without light protection treatment (LPF 1) had only 23% RF remaining in the same study period.
LPF can be used to quantitatively design packages with improved light protection performance ensuring RF content of milk through product life. As RF decline is a leading indicator of decline of other light sensitive nutrients, this methodology has applicability to quantitatively predict preservation of other nutrients impacted by light such as Vitamins A and D.
Funding Sources : The Chemours Company FC, LLC
Director, Consumer Goods - Dairy
Noluma International LLC
Associate Director, Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station Professor, Food Science and Technology
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Vice President, Research & Development
Noluma International LLC