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A survey of Australian consumers' attitudes towards UHT milk

Authors: Melinda L. Perkins and Hilton C. Deeth

Abstract:

A telephone survey was conducted in Melbourne and Brisbane to obtain a profile of milk consumption in Australia and determine consumers' attitudes regarding UHT milk. It was anticipated that this survey would reveal the reasons for the low level of UHT milk consumption in Australia. Pasteurised milk was the main milk type used by more than 80% of respondents. For UHT milk this figure was much lower (approximately 10%), even though two thirds of respondents had tried UHT milk. Factors that were found to influence UHT milk consumption included existing milk consumption habits, consumer perception, flavour and price. The majority of non-users of UHT milk stated " habit of using other milk type" as their main reason for not using UHT milk. Other reasons included " poor nutritional value", " poor flavour" and " not real/pure milk" , indicating a negative consumer perception of the product. The flavour of UHT milk was identified as a problem, with nearly half of UHT milk users considering it to be worse than the flavour of pasteurised milk. However, a small proportion of UHT milk users preferred the flavour of UHT milk, with the majority of them stating that it was creamier, richer and/or stronger than the flavour of pasteurised milk. Prior to post-farmgate deregulation, price was shown to discourage consumers from using UHT milk. At the time of the survey, post-farmgate prices in Victoria were deregulated resulting in UHT milk being priced below that of pasteurised milk in some instances. This was believed to contribute to a significantly higher market share of the product in Melbourne than in Brisbane.

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