These are the best brands of whole milk in supermarkets according to Spain's consumer watchdog
Consumer Affairs

These are the best brands of whole milk in supermarkets according to Spain's consumer watchdog

The Organisation of Consumers and Users (OCU) notes there has been a general improvement in the quality of this product that has experienced a "spectacular" price increase of 50% in just two years

Almudena Nogués

Friday, 28 June 2024, 14:52

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Which is the best whole milk available in supermarkets today? The OCU consumer association has carried out an analysis of 37 different branded cartons of UHT milk on the market to arrive at its verdict.

Turning to the first finding, this consumer association highlights the improvement of the quality of the milk consumed in Spain today. "Compared to previous studies, on this occasion no added water, whey, permeates or reconstituted milk powder have been detected and no hygiene problems have been observed." Moreover, 11 of the selected brands can be considered to be of very good quality. According to OCU, these include El Buen Pastor from Cantabria and Clesa from Galicia.

The OCU reminds us that milk is a basic food that provides many nutrients for a healthy diet. However, there are many false beliefs about it. Currently semi-skimmed milk is the most widely consumed type of milk in Spain, "but nutritionally, whole milk is more complete", argues the OCU. "If you don't drink whole milk for fear that it will raise your cholesterol level, you will be interested to know that the latest studies indicate that the fat in milk does not increase cholesterol levels." In its continued defence of whole milk, it adds: "It should not be cast aside because of its higher fat content, as that accounts for only 3.5% of the volume, which is about 126 calories for a 200ml glass."

Three seriously good value-for-money milk brands

The main differences between the brands analysed point to aspects such as how the milk is preserved prior to heat treatment, the treatment itself (sometimes too intense) and the nutritional values in each product, as well as the results of the tasting carried out by a panel of professional tasters. Another key feature is the price, which varies between 0.91 and 1.29 euros per litre. "Among the cheapest milks, three stand out for their good value for money, such as Auchan, Hacendado and Carrefour," states OCU.

With regard to pricing, the consumer watchdog expresses concern at the price hikes: "In just two years, whole milk has risen by an average of 50%, reaching record-breaking highs. An increase noted above all to occur in the stages following the sale of raw milk by the dairy farmer. In other words, during heat treatment, packaging, transport and distribution of the product." Faced with this reality, OCU urges the Ministry of Agriculture to keep a close eye on the costs involved at these stages in the process of handling and selling milk to the public.

Which is the best-tasting milk?

The OCU report also had a panel of five technical judges, who are experts in milk, for a taste test. In their tastings they measured aspects such as the colour, homogeneity, smell, flavour, body and persistency of each product.

The brand with the highest score goes to Día (despite having a low rating for raw material quality), followed by Lidl and Feiraco.

Of the 37 brands analysed, 11 can be considered of very good quality but, as noted above, there are two products that stand out from the rest in terms of their test scores: El Buen Pastor and Clesa.

The average price of a one-litre carton of UHT whole milk is 1.06 euros. But there is quite a difference between dairy brands and shop-brand labels. While the latter are around 0.92 euros/litre, the dairy brand names (El Buen Pastor, Pascual, Clesa, Président, Central Lechera Asturiana, etc.) average 1.13 euros/litre.

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