CINCINNATI — In a new addition to its private-label Active Lifestyle brand, Kroger Co. here has launched a cholesterol-reducing, fat-free milk.
“This new cholesterol-reducing milk is a perfect example of Kroger providing customers the products they need and want to make their lives better and healthier,” Linda Severin, vice president of corporate brands for Kroger, said in a release. “More and more people, especially Baby Boomers, are becoming conscientious and proactive about managing their health, particularly heart health. This makes it easy for them to do the right thing.”
The new product, which Kroger said will be available in half-gallons at a price point “on par with the company's other regular milk products,” incorporates plant sterols — an all-natural, plant-derived ingredient that clinical studies have shown to help lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels up to 15%, and cut the associated risk of coronary heart disease.
Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a qualified heart health claim for sterols in 2000, food manufacturers have added the ingredients to products ranging from margarines to orange juice in an effort to burnish their products' healthy image. Kroger, however, is touting the new Active Lifestyle milk as the first nationally available milk with a cholesterol-reducing claim.
The launch builds on a budding trend of nutritionally enhanced milk products. Last month, Horizon Organic rolled out an organic milk fortified with DHA omega-3 fatty acids, which research has shown to be critical to heart, brain and eye health. Also, earlier this year, Laguna Beach, Calif.-based SunMilk launched a skim-milk brand enhanced with cholesterol-reducing monounsaturated fats at stores in Southern California and Las Vegas.
“For people with borderline high blood cholesterol levels, this can potentially help them get to the normal range and potentially avoid medication,” said Severin. “For others, it is one way to help shave off [cholesterol] points for better heart health — and we know every point counts.”