‘Allergy-free’ milk firm reaches £1m sales, disrupting the traditional dairy market

‘Allergy-free’ milk firm reaches £1m sales

Milk producer a2 has chalked up £1m of sales in Britain and Ireland since its launch a year ago, despite a fire that razed its Droitwich dairy earlier this month.

By Anna White, Enterprise Correspondent

6:00AM GMT 29 Oct 2013

The Anglo-New Zealand business – a collaboration between the British company Müller Wiseman Dairies and Auckland – has disrupted the traditional dairy market, claiming to produce a type of milk that does not create lactose intolerances. The milk manufacturer, which now sells into 1,000 stores across the UK, markets milk containing the A2 protein.It argues that the A1 protein, found in the most commonly consumed cows’ milk, was introduced into the European Friesian and Holstein herds by a mutation that occurred a few thousand years ago, and can lead to common allergies in humans, causing bloating, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhoea and constipation.

The A2 protein predates this genetic development so the company has bred a herd that only contains the A2 molecules believed, by certain factions of the science community, to be more easily digested.

The scientific journal Infant reported last month that studies have linked a digestive product of A1, but not A2, to an increased risk of type 1 diabetes in some infants, adverse immune responses, digestive disorders and respiratory dysfunction.

Sheep and goats also produce A2 milk. “It is considered safe and nutritious and has no known negative effects on human health,” wrote clinical nutritionist Sue McGarrigle in the British Association for Applied Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy newspaper.

The full effects are still being unravelled, with a definitive study to be released before Christmas on whether the A1 protein is harmful.

In Australia a2 is the fastest growing milk brand and now commands about 8pc of the milk market, despite its premium pricing.

The singer Dannii Minogue, who used to suffer digestive problems, is now an international champion for the company.

Since the blaze two weeks ago, which was tackled by 75 firefighters, the milk producer has moved to an alternative plant in Worcestershire and has restored its supply to retailers, including Tesco, Waitrose, Morrisons, Booths, Budgens and the Co-op.

David Hearn, chairman of a2 and formerly PepsiCo’s head of European food operations, said: “There are always challenges. But we are offering consumers a genuinely unique product in A2 and we are determined to build a significant business here in the UK on the back of our success in Australia.

“The early signs are positive and we are already beginning to build a loyal consumer base from our initial trials and the message about A2 is starting to become more widely known.”

The company, which posted a 57pc increase in sales over the past year, plans to launch a poster advertising campaign to tell consumers more about the health benefits of the product.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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