‘This is going to be a very significant segment of the dairy category…’

While the wider dairy industry has given The a2 Milk Co​ a pretty lukewarm reception, said US CEO Blake Waltrip, retailers are very enthusiastic about the brand, which is one of the key drivers of growth in the fluid category along with other functional or premium brands such as Fairlife and Maple Hill.

I firmly believe this​ [A2 dairy] is going to be a very significant segment of the dairy category in the coming years. It’s going to be a very large category and there will be room for a number of players.​ We’re in over 22,000 doors at this point, at every major retailer, and really the pitch to retailers is that we’re growing thecategory, we’re bringing premium margins,” ​Waltrip told FoodNavigator-USA.

“Our loyalty is strong enough that if a consumer can’t find a2 Milk​ [which posted​ ​a 22.3% increase in net revenues to $34.2m in the 6 months to Dec 2020 and an $11.6m loss], they’ll come back and wait to buy their a2 Milk if it’s out of stock, they won’t just buy something else, and there’s not a lot of brands that can say that.”

He added: “During COVID, we saw all tides rise, even conventional milk grew as people were at home more, kids weren’t at school and so on, but now we’re seeing the return of pre pandemic trends and conventional milk is declining again, whereas we’re still growing in the double digits.

“It’s amazing if you think about it, because five years ago, hardly anyone ​[in the US] had even heard of it.”

Clinical evidence: ​Four human clinical trials conducted in China, Europe and the US on a2 Milk have been published in peer-reviewed journals over the past few years, with the most recent study (2020) led by Dennis​ Savaiano at Purdue University, an expert in lactose intolerance.

While the study was funded by The a2 Milk Co, said US CEO Blake Waltrip, “Once we fund a study, we have to step back and stay at arm’s length.”​​

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