Marcus Stead

Journalist Marcus Stead

A2 Milk exits UK market

with 28 comments

By MARCUS STEAD

 

A2 Milk 1A BRAND of milk popular with people experiencing digestive problems is being withdrawn from the UK after seven years due to market conditions.

A2 milk began appearing on supermarket shelves in the UK and Ireland in 2012, initially as a joint venture between The a2 Milk Company and major British milk supplier Müller Wiseman Dairies, but in January 2014 the company acquired MWD’s stake for a ‘nominal’ amount.

The a2 Milk Company became hugely successful in New Zealand after difficult beginnings in the early-mid 2000s.

In its first year in Britain and Ireland, the company recorded £1 million in sales through 1,000 stores, and in 2014 it reported that it had 20 dedicated farms supplying milk for processing in the UK.

A2 milk is available as both whole and semi-skimmed, and is sold at a premium price of around £1.40 per litre carton, around 37% dearer than conventional milk.

Until last month, A2 milk was widely available in Asda and Morrisons supermarkets. It remains on the shelves in some Sainsburys and Waitrose stores, and can also be bought via online supermarket Ocado, who will continue to stock it until the company withdraws from the UK market at the end of November.

The company, which is now also active in Australia, the USA and China, selects cows that produce only the A2 protein by carrying out a simple DNA test on new-born calves using hair follicles.

The cows are then separated from the rest of the herd to ensure no cross-contamination, and tests are carried out on the milk before it is packaged.

In the USA, The a2 Milk Company frequently advertises on TV, but in the UK, awareness of the product spread mainly through word of mouth,  via glowing online reviews, and in 2018 its taste was approved by the Good Housekeeping Institute.

A2 Milk 2The company says that originally cows’ milk only contained the A2 beta casein protein type, but following the domestication of cows, the A1 protein type emerged and spread through modern farming methods. Today, conventional cows’ milk contains a mix of A1 and A2 protein types.

Research carried out by the company concluded that the presence of the A1 protein is what makes milk difficult to digest for some people, including many who think they have lactose intolerance.

The study claims that when A1 proteins are broken down in the gut, they form a protein fragment called BCM-7, triggering inflammation and symptoms like bloating and abdominal pain.

However, the claims are controversial, and in 2018, Greg Miller, the chief science officer of the USA’s National Dairy Council said: “It’s just a theory at this point in time. There is no science that says that there’s any value in this A2 protein relative to conventional milk.

“The two studies that were done were with small number of subjects and looked at variables that don’t give us the answer we need to be able to tell whether or not this is really true.”

Because A2 milk is still 100% milk, it still contains lactose (milk sugar) and milk proteins, so those with a true lactose intolerance may not tolerate it any better than regular milk.

37 of 53 reviews on Ocado’s website gave A2 milk five stars. ‘joeavant’ backed up the company’s own research that suggests the product can help some who think they have a lactose intolerance: “Spent 7 years thinking I was lactose intolerant. Came across this on a program [sic] and thought I would give it a try…and never looked back since. So im [sic] not lactose intolerant at all, just dont [sic] get on with A1 protein milk.”

On the Morrisons website, ‘CBL’ gave A2 milk five stars, saying: “I was skeptical [sic] about this milk, but gave it a go. Myself and my kids have intolerances. We noticed the difference almost immediately, the little ones didn’t even realise I changed the milk as it tastes just like normal milk if not better. Highly recommended for anyone who has dairy sensitivities.”
The product began to disappear from supermarket shelves around early September. A company spokesperson said: “The a2 Milk Company made the difficult decision to discontinue A2 milk in the UK following a strategic review. The category conditions meant that developing a scalable premium priced fresh milk proposition was increasingly challenging.”

The company stressed its commitment to honouring its relationships with UK farmers, and their cows will continue to produce milk that will be combined with other cows’ milk when collected and processed, meaning it can no longer be considered pure A2 milk.

No other companies in the UK currently produce a milk that only contains the A2 beta casein protein type.

The a2 Milk Company spokesperson said: “The US is one of the largest consumer economies in the world with the largest liquid milk market globally.

“We have opted to prioritise our investment and focus on the markets with the greatest growth potential, and that is the US and our other key market, Greater China.”

Written by Marcus Stead

November 6, 2019 at 12:11 am

Posted in Consumer, Health

28 Responses

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  1. […] To view the original article CLICK HERE […]

  2. this is a disaster for those of us that know we are A1 protein intolerant and for the farmers with A2 herds and someone need to take this on in the UK.

    Rob Jones

    rob jones

    November 19, 2019 at 9:33 pm

    • We love this product. I don’t know what to buy for myself and my son now. Goats milk can be a bit too goaty so this product was our saving grace when it came to dairy, the burning sensation he used to get with regular milk just didn’t happen with a2. What a shame, obviously not a big enough bite of the apple.

      Sacha McPhedran

      November 24, 2019 at 1:22 pm

      • No problem, we’ll courier it out to you… just setting up an on-farm micro dairy selling A2 pastured, untreated, soon to be organic milk, & cream/butter. All taking off when our special jersey-mix cows start calving in early Spring.
        Just e mail us & we’ll see if we can do something for you!

        Elaine aidley

        December 14, 2019 at 10:51 am

    • We’re up for it! Just spread the word, & find us on ‘hillfarmrealeggs’ (soon to be ‘hillfarmrealfood’. Our new micro dairy shall be in production early Spring, when our specialA2 jersey-mix start producing.

      Elaine aidley

      December 14, 2019 at 10:56 am

  3. This explains why I could not find it! Such a same as it was kinder on the digestive system in the body(we felt better), trying to find an alternative now.

    Joyce Sharpe

    November 25, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    • Find us on hillfarmrealeggs website – soon to become hillfarmrealfood, when our new A2 micro dairy opens early Spring. You can pick it up or we can courier it out to you.

      Elaine aidley

      December 14, 2019 at 10:59 am

  4. My son is intolerant to ordinary milk and he could only drink A2. Now I even think to change the country , terrible terrible news.

    Aslihan

    November 25, 2019 at 3:09 pm

    • I found A2 milk was the best for my digestion out of all the various milk products – so really frustrating to find that the company is pulling out of the UK. Their website doesn’t appear to mention it so thank you to the author of this article for at least explaining to us what’s happening …. I’ve now gone to lactose free as an alternative but this can be more expensive ..Grrr

      Sara

      December 10, 2019 at 10:48 am

    • Don’t leave! We are opening a new A2 micro dairy in early Spring, to add to our nutrient dense eggs that we offer. Please contact us & see what we can do.

      Elaine aidley

      December 14, 2019 at 11:19 am

  5. I’m almost crying here. I cannot take A1 protein. Found this out a few years ago after suffering for 15 years with terrible bowl pain. No pain at all on A2 milk. No more milk for me then 😦

    Martin

    November 26, 2019 at 1:16 pm

  6. Surely we came make an alternative for us that use this milk regularly, it works wonders for my stomach, Im really annoyed it’s barely available now .

    Denise Dawson

    November 27, 2019 at 4:31 pm

  7. What an awful decision based on profits again! This milk has been like a new beginning for myself, relatives and friends who have all found they no longer have bloated stomachs and painful cramps. I originally thought I had irritable bowel, then lactose intolerance then gluten intolerance but having tried all the diets and medical advice the only thing that has worked is a2 milk. What are the company thinking of it’s a total disaster and I am really annoyed by the decision. Please think again!

    Stef

    December 1, 2019 at 11:40 am

  8. I can’t have heated milk in porridge and drinks, unless it is A2 milk, due to the churning stomach issues normal hot milk causes. It is a huge shame I won’t be able to buy this anymore.

    D. Underwood

    December 2, 2019 at 11:49 am

    • We’re opening a new A2 micro dairy in the Spring. Find us on hillfarmeggs & we’ll see what we can do.

      Elaine aidley

      December 14, 2019 at 11:26 am

      • Hill Farm Dairy this is AMAZING to hear. Thank you for posting here and letting us all know. Will get in touch to find out more.

        Jenny G

        December 14, 2019 at 10:32 pm

  9. This is an absolute tragedy! a2 is the only milk I’ve been able to have for years. The pain caused by any other types I’ve tried are unbearable. All other substitutes just don’t work for one reason or another. Now what?

    Beth

    December 2, 2019 at 1:47 pm

  10. Such a shame A2 has been withdrawn and finally I have put the reason why. I asked in all the supermarkets and nobody had any idea.

    I have collagen colits and this has been the only milk that has helped. I am really upset because no doubt I will go back to the horror of instant diarrhoea which is under partial control with steroids but the the milk helped no end.

    You say the cows milk is being mixed with others can you say which in particular or is this general.

    Sylvia

    December 4, 2019 at 4:26 pm

  11. The research may be inconclusive but the impact on my body is proof enough for me. Since the withdrawal of A2 milk the bloating and stomach cramps have returned. I have not found an alternative.

    Linda

    December 5, 2019 at 8:45 am

    • Have you tried Abel and Cole’s Guernsey milk. Guernsey cows have the highest count of A2 milk of all dairy cows. Purchased online we had our first delivery today, lovely tasting milk and no stomach cramps after breakfast, fingers crossed it stays that way.

      Miranda Jane

      December 5, 2019 at 5:19 pm

  12. I find it very sad that you are pulling out of the UK with no alternative. It is the only milk I can tolerate. Really not happy at all. Please reconsider.

    Delyth Woods

    December 6, 2019 at 2:59 pm

  13. The decision to withdraw A2 has been made by those who do obviously not suffer from stomach cramps bloating and pain. You should be ashamed of yourself You couldn’t give a toss about your A2 customers.

    Graham

    December 6, 2019 at 4:24 pm

  14. Hope all these conments will be going to the appropriateA 2 department

    Sylvia Hall

    December 6, 2019 at 6:26 pm

  15. It seems quite harsh that the many people who have found a product that allows them to use milk in their diet, have woken up to find it has suddenly disappeared from the supermarket shelves. This action has let down your customers and will no doubt have a negative impact on their diet. As always the consumer is the one who suffers. I almost wish I hadn’t found A2 in the first place and I would not be so annoyed with the way in which you have let all your customers down. Shame on your corporate souls

    Christina Stargatt

    December 10, 2019 at 12:47 am

  16. Surely one of the a2 milk farmers can see the potential in the uk. Within four weeks my husband’s skin is deteriorating and ear infections have already taken hold after changing to Graham’s jersey milk. Obviously not totally a2. Have done some research and still trying to contact any of the a2 milk farmers but not having much luck.

    Julia Woods

    December 14, 2019 at 6:10 pm

  17. Devastated. All of us in our family are intolerant to normal milk but absolutely fine with a2 milk. I don’t care that the sceintists are sceptical, I’ve seen our eczema and digestive issues improve immeasurably. I’m 100% convinced. And now we no long have access to this amazing milk.

    Helen Parker

    December 14, 2019 at 10:31 pm

  18. Which farms still have the a2 cows? I’d love to know!

    helen parker

    December 14, 2019 at 10:48 pm


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