Frequently Asked Questions

Meadow Fresh Permeate Free Frequently Asked Questions 

Q. Meadow Fresh milk is now Permeate Free, when it used to be called No Added Permeate. What is the difference?

A. Milk that is not standardised can be referred to as either ‘Permeate Free’ or ‘No Added Permeate’ – both terms are correct. Permeate is not created until it goes through an ultra-filtration process. Our milk doesn’t go through this process, so it is permeate free. It is also correct to say that it doesn’t have permeate added to it.

Q. The label on the front of the bottle says ‘permeate free’, but the words on the back say ‘no added permeate’. Why is that? 

A. We are currently changing out the labels on our milk bottles, and it is possible that some will say ‘permeate free’ and others will say ‘no added permeate’ for a few days during the changeover process. Milk that is not standardised can be referred to as either ‘Permeate Free’ or ‘No Added Permeate’ – both terms are correct. Permeate is not created until it goes through an ultra-filtration process. Our milk doesn’t go through this process, so it is permeate free. It is also correct to say that it doesn’t have permeate added to it. So while the labels may have two terms on them, both terms are accurate when referring to the milk inside the bottle.

Q. Why do some bottles of milk say ‘permeate free’ and others say ‘no added permeate’?

A. We are currently changing out the labels on our milk bottles, and it is possible that some will say ‘permeate free’ and others will say ‘no added permeate’ during the changeover process. Milk that is not standardised can be referred to as either ‘Permeate Free’ or ‘No Added Permeate’ – both terms are correct. Permeate is not created until it goes through an ultra-filtration process. Our milk doesn’t go through this process, so it is permeate free. It is also correct to say that it doesn’t have permeate added to it. So while the labels may be different, both terms are accurate when referring to the milk inside the bottle.

Q. What do you mean by ‘less processed’?

A. We have taken one step out of the milk process, so it actually retains a higher level of the naturally present protein and calcium and that helps give it the full milk taste, without higher fat levels.

Q. Which process did you take out?

A. We eliminated the process where permeate is added to the milk to standardise the amount of protein. Permeate is created when cows’ milk is separated during ultra-filtration, and is typically added back into the milk during the production process. We have removed this process so the milk tastes creamier and has naturally higher levels of calcium and protein (25% more protein than minimum standards, averaged annually).

Q. What processes does the milk still go through?

A. It remains homogenised (with the exception of Calci Trim, Farmhouse and Cream) and pasteurised, so is still a complete, safe and nutritious food.

Q. What is permeate?

A. Permeate is the name given to the liquid portion of whole milk separated out through an ultra-filtration process that contains milk-sugar (lactose) and the minerals part of whole milk.

Q. Is permeate always in milk?

A. The components of permeate are naturally present but permeate is not created until these ingredients are separated out of milk through an ultra-filtration process.

Q. Where does permeate come from?

A. Permeate is created when the original milk is put through an ultra-filtration process as part of overall milk processing. Fresh skim milk is put through an ultra-fine filter to separate the lactose, soluble minerals, and vitamins from the proteins, fat and insoluble minerals. The lactose, vitamins, minerals and water which filter through are known as permeate. It is this lactose-rich liquid that is added back to milk to ensure the protein level is consistent and does not vary throughout the year.

Q. Does permeate free milk taste different?

A. Permeate free milk tends to taste richer and creamier, because it typically contains higher levels of naturally present protein (25% more protein than minimum standards, averaged annually).

Q. Is permeate free milk more nutritious?

A. Permeate free milk typically contains higher levels of naturally present calcium and protein (25% more protein than minimum standards, averaged annually). It tastes richer and creamier and is fantastic in coffee!

Q. Does this happen with all milk?

A. No. It is a decision made by dairy processors, who may adjust these components to produce a variety of different types of milk (for example low fat, high calcium and so on) to meet consumer demands. New Zealand has stringent food safety laws and these adjustments must be consistent with our food regulations.

Q. Is all milk the same?

A. Milk is a natural product which comes straight from the cow, so its composition can vary due to cow breed, their feed and lactation. Milk is then processed into one of a number of variants including Original Blue, Light Blue, Trim etc, all which have unique taste profiles due to the differences in protein and fat levels.
The range of protein in the permeate free milk will be from 3.5g per 100mL and 4.5g per 100mL over the year, which is 13-45% more protein than the current standardised original milk (3.1g/100mL). Taking an annual average, the protein levels will be 25% higher in the new Meadow Fresh Original milk (launched Oct 2016) than the previous milk.

The ‘lower’ protein levels of the Meadow Fresh milk (spring/summer) will not fall below existing standardised protein levels of milk available year-round (3.1g per 100mL for previous Meadow Fresh Original blue).

Q. Why do the protein levels in fresh milk vary?

A. The protein content in fresh milk varies according to the lactation and feed cycle of cows, and even where the farm is and the breed of cow. For example, protein levels in milk are higher in autumn and winter, and lower in spring and summer (25% more protein than minimum standards, averaged annually).

Q. Why do some milks have a consistent level of protein, regardless of the season?

A. To make sure consumers receive milk that is of a consistent quality and taste, typically fresh-milk companies standardise the protein levels. And they do this by using permeate in some milk types.

Q. What is the difference between the new Meadow Fresh milk and the previous Meadow Fresh milk?

A. With the new Meadow Fresh milk (launched October 2016), we have taken one step out of the milk process so it actually retains the naturally present protein and calcium and that helps give it the full milk taste, without higher fat levels. These levels will naturally vary throughout the year. Previously, Meadow Fresh milk had standardised levels of protein. Taking an annual average, the protein levels will be 25% higher in the new Meadow Fresh Original than the previous milk.

Q. Will the protein levels of Meadow Fresh milk change throughout the year?

A. Yes, the protein levels in Meadow Fresh milk will vary in alignment with the milking season; higher protein levels in autumn and winter, lower protein levels in spring and summer. The range of protein in the permeate free milk will be from 3.5g per 100mL and 4.5g per 100mL over the year, which is 13-45% more protein than the current standardised original milk (3.1g/100mL). The ‘lower’ protein levels in Meadow Fresh milk (spring/summer) will not fall below existing standardised protein levels of milk available year-round (3.1g per 100mL for previous Meadow Fresh Original blue).

Q. Will all Meadow Fresh milk be permeate free? E.g. Calci Trim, Blue, Light Blue, Trim?

A. All Meadow Fresh fresh white milk will be permeate free.

Q. What does More Goodness actually mean?

A. Protein and calcium is naturally occurring in all milk but levels fluctuate with seasonal conditions on the dairy farm. Meadow Fresh milk will reflect these seasonal variations but will always be higher than the minimum required standard for protein (3.1g per 100mL). In fact, throughout the year we will have on average 25% more protein in our Meadow Fresh Original milk than the minimum required levels.

Q. Is it more expensive?

A. The company has chosen to invest in its brand and it will be absorbing the extra cost involved in having permeate free milk. Meadow Fresh is providing the choice of permeate free milk at an accessible price point.