Which is the best Dairy Whitener?

Dairy whiteners are substitutes for milk and have replaced milk in many households with the changing lifestyle. Consumer VOICE experts compared some popular dairy whiteners on the basis of protein content, moisture, fat, added sugar and other parameters. The testing was conducted at an NABL-accredited laboratory. Consumers can read detailed test report for each parameter and see how each brand has faired and decide for themselves that which is best for their morning cuppa!.

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Overview

Dried milk with added sugars is what dairy whitener is all about. It can be readily used for making tea or coffee, with or without additional sugar. Easy, quick and convenient, right? Little wonder, then, that there is an increase in the use of dairy whiteners (also known as sweetened milk powders) in tea and coffee as well as the manufacturing of foods like soups, sauces, puddings and cereal dishes. The attributes of a good dairy whitener can be enumerated easily enough, the whitening ability and emulsion stability being particularly important. This report presents our findings on six brands of dairy whiteners on various quality, safety and acceptability parameters.

Brand studied:

 
  • Nestle
  • Nova
  • Mother dairy

 

  • Gowardhan
  • Patanjali
  • Amulya

PARAMETERS STUDIED

 
  • Protein
  • Moisture
  • Acid-insoluble ash
  • Insolubility index
  • Total ash
  • Fat

 

  • Added sugar
  • Titratable acidity as lactic acid
  • Sensory tests
  • Microbiological safety.

Consumer VOICE Recommendations

BEST BUY

Nestle | Nova

Gowardhan

Key Findings

Based on the overall test findings, the top performers are Nestle and Nova.

  • The value-for-money brand is Gowardhan.
  • Protein was found highest in Nova.
  • Mother Dairy was the most liked brand in the sensory tests.
  • All brands are microbiologically safe for consumption.
  • Amulya, an ISI-marked product, did not meet the requirement of Indian Standard since milk solids-not-fat (MSNF) was lower and added sugar was higher than the specified limits.
  •  Four out of the six brands claimed to be ‘proprietary food’. Mother Dairy, Nova and Gowardhan mentioned ‘dairy whitener’ on one side and ‘proprietary food’ on the opposite side of packaging, which may cause confusion in the minds of consumers. The word ‘proprietary food’ should appear clearly along with ‘dairy whitener’.

Brands Tested

Notes:

Score Rating:  >90: very good*****, 71–90: good****, 51–70: fair***, 31–50: poor**, up to 30: very poor*

*Proprietary food refers to food that has not been standardised under any regulations and has no definite formulation.

Test result for PhysicoChemical Parameters

Protein

Protein is an essential nutrient and inherently found in milk and milk products. It plays an important role in cellular maintenance, growth and functioning of the human body.

At present, no requirement is prescribed in the Indian Standard for protein in dairy whiteners.

Protein was highest in Nova (22.86 per cent) and lowest in Patanjali (19.75 per cent).

 

Moisture

Moisture is an important factor in food quality, preservation, and resistance to deterioration. Moisture in inappropriate amounts is damaging to the useful life of food. The presence of moisture is inherent in the processing of food and to some extent is good for maintaining its taste and odour but excess of moisture is undesirable. As per Indian Standard, moisture in dairy whitener shall not be more than 4 per cent.

Moisture content in all the brands was within the specified limit.

Moisture content was lowest in Gowardhan (1.90 per cent) and highest in Amulya (2.80 per cent).

 

Acid-Insoluble Ash

Acid-insoluble ash indicates the presence of sand, dirt and dust. As per Indian Standard, it should not be more than 0.10 per cent.

All brands were within the specified limit.

Acid-insoluble ash was lowest in Gowardhan.

 

Insolubility Index

The extent to which milk powders are insoluble in water has traditionally been measured using an insolubility test (solubility index). It shall be a maximum 1.5 ml.

All the brands were found to be well within the specified limit.

 

Total Ash

As per Indian Standard, total ash shall not be more than 5.5 per cent (on dry-weight basis).

Total ash in all brands was within the maximum permissible limit. It was lowest in Nestle (4.62 per cent) and highest in Nova (5.37 per cent).

What Does Ash in Food Mean?

Ash refers to the inorganic material, such as minerals, present in food. It is the portion of the food or any organic material that remains after it is burned at very high temperatures. The quality of many foods depends on the concentration and type of minerals they contain, including their taste, appearance, texture and stability.

Fat

Fat is an essential part of any balanced diet, providing essential fatty acids and helping the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, and K). It shall not be less than 20 per cent as per Indian Standard.

All the brands met the minimum requirement specified by Indian Standard.

Milk Solids-not-Fat

Milk has mainly two constituents: fat and solids-not-fat (SNF). Solids such as vitamins, minerals, protein and lactose together make up SNF. SNF is the most essential part of the milk. As per Indian Standard, it should be a minimum 57 per cent in dairy whiteners.

MSNF percentage in Amulya was found to be less than the minimum limit specified by Indian Standard.

Total Added Sugar (as sucrose)

Added sugars are sugars and syrups put in foods during preparation or processing. This does not include naturally occurring sugar such as those in milk. For optimal health, we should restrict our added-sugar intake. As per Indian Standard, total added sugar as sucrose shall be a maximum 18 per cent.

Added sugar was highest in Mother Dairy and lowest in Gowardhan.

Added sugar in Amulya was found to be beyond the maximum limit.

Titratable Acidity as Lactic Acid

Titratable acidity is a measure of the amount of acid present in a solution. Expressed as grams/litre, it should be on the lower side.

Titratable acidity was on the lower side in all brands.

It was lowest in Mother Dairy and Nestle.

Physicochemical Scores

FOR MICROBIOLOGICAL ACTIVITY

Microbiological contamination is a very serious issue for all food products. We conducted this test for coliform count, total plate count and yeast and mould count, as also for presence of E. coli, S. aureus, and Salmonella. These microorganisms are responsible for many food-borne diseases. Due to improper or poor hygienic condition during the manufacturing process, microorganisms may occur in the finished product.

Coliform bacteria, E. coli and S. aureus shall be absent in 0.1 gm of the dairy whitener, while Salmonella is required to be absent in 25 gm. The colony count per gram of the product shall not be more than 40,000. Yeast and mould count shall be 50 cfu/gm.

All the brands were within the specified limit for the aforementioned microbiological parameters.

Yeast and mould count was less than 10 cfu/gm.

FOR SENSORY ATTRIBUTES

Sensory tests were conducted to judge the products on these attributes: colour and appearance, flavour, taste and after-taste feeling, overall acceptability, and whether free from lump and extraneous matter. These tests were conducted under the supervision of trained experts.

Sensory tests were conducted to judge the products on these attributes: colour and appearance, flavour, taste and after-taste feeling, overall acceptability, and whether free from lump and extraneous matter. These tests were conducted under the supervision of trained experts.

FOR GENERAL QUALITIES

Marking/Labelling

The following details shall be marked on the product label:

  1. a) Name of product and brand name, if any
  2. b) Name and address of manufacturer
  3. c) Month and year of manufacturing or packing
  4. d) Directions for storage
  5. e) Net weight
  6. f) ‘Best before’ for consumption
  7. g) Batch or code number
  8. h) Green dot to denote vegetarian status
  9. i) MRP
  10. j) FSSAI license number
  11. k) Customer-care details

All the brands had the required information. Gowardhan did not mention storage instructions.

Packing

Packing plays an important role in maintaining consistent quality of the product, preventing its deterioration, and increasing the shelf life.

All the brands had suitable food-grade packaging.

Nova was in a tin container; Nestle, Mother Dairy and Patanjali were in poly packs; Gowardhan was in a plastic box; and Amulya was in a hard paper box.

Net Weight

Samples from all brands were verified for net weight as per the quantity claimed. The net weight should be within the tolerance limit permitted in Legal Metrology Rules.

The net weight of all brands was found to be above the declared quantity.