Liem DG, Bolhuis DP, Xiaobo H, Keast RS. - 47496 N - J Dairy Sci 2016 ; 99(3) : 1747-54.

Short communication: Influence of labeling on Australian and Chinese consumers' liking of milk with short (pasteurized) and long (UHT) shelf life

Sixty percent of milk consumed in China has a long shelf life (UHT), presumably because milk with a short shelf life (pasteurized) is comparatively expensive. This in contrast to Australia, where 10% of consumed milk is UHT and the price between UHT and pasteurized milk is equivalent. Whether UHT is actually more liked than pasteurized milk by Chinese consumers is unknown. However, the potential positive halo around the expensive pasteurized milk might result in Chinese consumers liking milk more when it is labeled as “short shelf-life milk.” To test these hypotheses, Chinese (n = 48, 20 males, 28 females, 23 +/- 7.2 yr) and Australian (n = 93, 11 males, 82 females, 24 +/- 5.6 yr) consumers tasted and rated (9-point hedonic scale), in a randomized order, 3 x 30-mL samples of UHT milk (labeled as “long shelf-life milk,” “short shelf-life milk,” or “milk”) and 3 x 30-mL samples of pasteurized milk (also labeled as “long shelf-life milk,” “short shelf-life milk,” or “milk”). Australian participants’ liking of milk was not influenced by labeling. Regardless of what the label stated, they always preferred the taste of pasteurized milk over the taste of UHT milk. This was different for Chinese participants, who preferred the taste of UHT milk over the taste of pasteurized milk, but in general had a higher liking for any milk that was labeled “short shelf-life milk.” Both Australian and Chinese were more positive about pasteurized than UHT milk. In conclusion, Chinese, but not Australian, consumers’ liking of milk was guided by the positive expectations of pasteurized milk and the negative expectations of UHT milk. Further research is needed to investigate if the present findings can be extrapolated to a larger and more varied group of Chinese and Australian consumers.