8 Jun 2015

Milo: how marvellous is the difference?

11:48 am on 8 June 2015

"It's marvellous what a difference Milo makes," goes the slogan - but just how different is its new flavour, which has some consumers up in arms?

Nestle has removed the drink's vanilla flavour and switched to sustainably sourced cocoa and palm oil.

A tin of 'old' Milo, next to a smaller tin of 'new' Milo.

A tin of 'old' Milo, next to a smaller tin of 'new' Milo. Photo: RNZ

Wellington mother Tarryn Ibell experienced 'complete shock and disgust' the first time she tried Milo's new flavour, assuming initially it was a problem with the milk she had used.

"My kids won't drink it, they won't touch it," she said. Having made a formal complaint to Nestle over the weekend, she said she was waiting to hear back from them.

Nutritionally, the two drinks are virtually identical, with the same amount of protein, malt, fat, and sugar - although while a single portion of old Milo is 'three level teaspoons', new Milo is served out in 'three heaped teaspoons'.

Ms Ibell has launched a social media campaign requesting a shift back to the old recipe with over 3,000 likes.

Consumers have already jumped on TradeMe to try and sell off the old Milo, with one 300g bag already going for $21. A 2kg tin priced at $30 was yet to receive any bids.

While Nestle are shocked, and say the new recipe hadn't affected the taste whatsoever, and Ms Ibell believes the new formula "just stinks", how do the two stack up against each other?

She told Morning Report it tasted too malty and did not have the chocolate flavour any more.

Blind tasting

Ten adult occasional Milo drinkers took part in a Radio New Zealand blind tasting, where equal quantities of new and old Milo were mixed with warm milk.

Only 50 percent were able to correctly guess which one was the new formula, with tasters calling both of the drinks 'sweeter' than the other.

It was generally accepted, however, that the new fomula tasted 'richer' and 'stronger', while the old formula was said to be 'more chocolatey'.

Everyone surveyed felt that there was a noticeable difference between the two drinks, though opinions were divided on which of the two was a more pleasant drink.

No one commented on a noticeable (or absent) vanilla or malt flavour - but, on trying both the new and old formulas, testers commented: "Oh yes, that's the Milo I know."

Morning Report taste test

Morning Report presenter Susie Ferguson tried the new and old Milo.

"It tastes nice and sweet, it's got that vanilla thing going on. It's what you know it is, what you know and love," she said of the old formula.

The new formula "really smells different - it does have that real barley, malty kind of edge to it. It's got a kind of powdery smell to it."

"Oh, that's quite different, actually. It's not as chocolatey, and it's not as malty as the smell makes you think it's going to be, but it is very different."