The consumption of liquid milk has fallen in Spain by 28% in 20 years, a decrease that the ranchers of Galicia, the community that leads its production, consider “alarming”. To combat this phenomenon, 90 Galician farms have decided to launch the first Spanish project for the large-scale commercialization of A2 milk, a type of product that, as it does not contain the protein called betacasein A1, is more digestible than conventional milk, explain its promoters. It is obtained through a natural selection of cows, “without adding or removing anything”, and without technological processes involved, they emphasize. It aims to solve a problem that the studies they handle reveal: that 25% of consumers claim to feel digestive discomfort when drinking milk, when only 5% are diagnosed as lactose intolerant.
The new product seeks to win back consumers who are not lactose intolerant, but who do not like milk. Under the Deleite brand, it has already started to be sold in Galicia and from next October it will be distributed throughout Spain. The innovation actually supposes a return “to the origins”, although they are very remote, since at first the milk only contained the protein betacasein A2, like the mother’s milk. It was thousands of years ago when a genetic mutation introduced A1 in its composition. “An A2 cow is born, it is not made. They are the ones that originally existed and now we are going to recover what an accident in nature changed 4,000 or 5,000 years ago ”, explains Marcial Gende, manager of the Herdanza dairy farm and quality manager of the initiative.
The project, presented this Friday in Santiago, has been quietly forged for four years and has been promoted by the farms grouped in the Leite Noso society, which a group of farmers founded in 2016 in order to avoid intermediaries and achieve fair prices and stable contracts. These farms were joined in April 2020, in full confinement by the pandemic, by others interested in innovation. Now there are a total of 90 farms that have managed to improve the production process and the livestock herd in order to obtain milk from A2 cows.
The animals are identified thanks to genetic analysis. They are milked in a separate area and their milk is also collected separately to avoid any type of mixture with the conventional product, all through a duly certified process, explains Jesús Martínez, who runs a farm in Vilasantar (A Coruña) that participate in the project.
A2 milk began to be marketed in New Zealand in 2003 and its production has expanded to the United States, Australia and China. “The future passes through A2 milk,” says Pedro González Boquete, executive director of Leite Noso, who assures that the Galician project is also a pioneer in Europe. That “it is more digestible and does not produce swelling are effects that have already been confirmed” by science, adds González Boquete, and “hundreds of ongoing investigations” are currently analyzing other possible properties that “are not yet proven.”
The promoters of the project see in this product a “small revolution” and “profitable alternative” for the sector, because it is a better paid milk. The A2 supplier farms have signed contracts for the next three years. “This is the first time that a brand has signed such long-term contracts,” they congratulate themselves.