Will the milk of the future come from Spain?

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Galician farmer promote new milk. Nature photo created by tawatchai07 - www.freepik.com

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA – To counter the decline in milk consumption, Galician farmers have started producing A2 milk. The initiators presented their product on Friday and call it ‘the future of the sector’.

Santiago de Compostela was the location for the presentation of the milk from specially selected cows. The cows produce a milk which is more digestible. Consumption of the product in Spain has fallen by 28% in 20 years. Farmers in Galicia, the region with the highest production, see this fall as ‘alarming’. 

To ensure future sales, 90 Galician livestock farms decided to launch A2 milk. This product is more digestible than conventional milk due to the absence of the protein beta-casein A1. 

Naturally more digestible

This milk, the farmers emphasise, is through the natural selection of cows ‘without adding or removing anything’, and without technological processes. The product should solve the problem shown in several studies. According to these studies, 25% of consumers claim to have digestive problems when drinking milk, while only 5 % have lactose intolerance. 

With the new product, the sector wants to win back consumers who are not lactose intolerant, but who do not like milk. Under the Deleite brand, A2 milk has started selling in Galicia. From October it will be available throughout Spain. 

The innovation assumes a return ‘to the origin’; cow’s milk initially only contained the protein beta casein A2, like breast milk. Thousands of years ago, a genetic mutation introduced A1 into its composition.

“An A2 cow is born, it is not made. They are the cows that originally existed and we are now going to restore what a coincidence in nature changed 4,000 or 5,000 years ago,” explains Marcial Gende, manager of dairy farm Herdanza and quality manager of the initiative, in El País. 

The project presented on Friday has been underway for four years. Livestock farms grouped in the Leite Noso society, founded in 2016, promote the product. The farmers formed the group as they wished to avoid middlemen and achieve fair prices and stable contracts. There are now a total of 90 companies which have succeeded in improving the production process and livestock of A2 cows. 

Farmers identify the animals suitable for A2 production thanks to a genetic analysis. Milking takes place in a separate room and the liquid collected separately to avoid any kind of mixing with the conventional product. All of this is a duly certified process. 

Originally launched in New Zealand

New Zealand was the first to launch A2 milk in 2003. Production then expanded to the United States, Australia and China. “A2 milk is the future,” says Pedro González Boquete, executive director of Leite Noso. He assures us the Galician project is also a pioneer in Europe. Boquete adds, the drink is “more digestible and does not cause bloating are effects that have already been confirmed” by science. He further comments, “hundreds of ongoing studies” are currently analysing other possible properties that “have not yet been proven”. 

The project’s initiators see this product as a “minor revolution” and a “profitable alternative” for the sector. 

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