Dairy is a significant sub-sector within the global food industry with revenues of $674 billion in 2019 (1). An estimated 6 billion people consume liquid milk, flavoured milk beverages, ice creams, artisan cheeses, cheese-based pizzas, and yogurts (2,3).
Nevertheless, the global dairy industry faced significant headwinds before the pandemic hit in early 2020 (4). It has seen low growth forecasts, price volatility, fast-changing consumer trends, rising costs, increased competition, market access issues, changing weather patterns and environmental pressures to reduce greenhouse gasses. Despite these challenges, the dairy industry is always striving to innovate across its value chains (3,4). At the product level, dairy firms are continuously tweaking or reformulating existing products and innovating with new products, sustainable packaging and claims (e.g., reduced-fat) to appeal to the busy, health and environmentally conscious shoppers.
There is no doubt that consumer buying patterns are shifting amid intense competition from within the dairy sector. Consumers in both developed and developing economies are concerned about food quality, food safety, the authenticity of the foods they buy, and the claims that brands are making. The dairy sector is no stranger to consumer health and safety concerns. Regulators and researchers have uncovered issues related to dairy product quality, safety, and fraud incidents, including the dilution of raw milk, unapproved ingredients, and false claims of origin in cheeses.
What is Food Fraud?
Food fraud “encompasses deliberate and intentional substitution, addition, tampering, or misrepresentation of food, food ingredients, or food packaging; or false or misleading statements made about a product for economic gain. The types of fraud include adulteration, tampering, product overrun, theft, diversion, simulation, and counterfeiting.” (5). Researchers and regulatory controls show that economically motivated adulteration (EMA) of milk and dairy products pose significant health and safety concerns.
Read our full article to find examples that demonstrate the danger of food fraud and how the globalization of food value chains has resulted in an increased complexity of the regulation and monitoring of food safety.
History of the A2 milk and market opportunity
Cows were domesticated about 10,500 years ago. Modern DNA testing techniques reveal all cattle today can be traced back to a small herd of 80 animals (6). It's intriguing to note that while A2 milk is seen as a market newcomer, all cattle are thought to have initially produced A2 milk. Scientists suggest that some herds experienced a genetic mutation sometime between 10,000 and 5,000 years ago that added a β-casein protein called A1 (7).
Recent research shows the global market for A2 milk reached US$1.1 billion in 2019 and is projected to grow significantly (8). Given its potential, farmers and processors worldwide are economically motivated to pivot and produce A2 milk in response to the increasing demand for a perceived healthier alternative to conventional dairy (9).
Is there a Risk of Fraud?
Premium products like A2 milk command a higher price and an attractive margin, making it a target with a higher risk for fraud. Established and new A2 brands can be easily targeted by organized crime who counterfeit packaging and replace the product with low-quality and potentially unsafe replacements. Firms often engage with experts who assist in assessing the market vulnerabilities and conduct in-market surveillance.
Broader than the counterfeiting risk itself, all product claims must be verifiable. This is where SwissDeCode excels. In collaboration with the dairy industry, we have developed a range of rapid test capabilities that can be completed at the farm or dairy processing, distribution, and retail. Our tests can also be used in-market by surveillance experts to eliminate the risk of counterfeits by organized crime who may re-use dairy packaging or containers or use fake packaging and branding.
SwissDeCode A2 Verification Solution
Our DNAFoil A2 Cow Milk test verifies the purity of raw A2 milk batches by rapidly detecting the presence of A1-type milk in raw milk samples. Our customers expressed the need to test individual cows, so we responded and launched the DNAFoil A2 Cow test. This highly sensitive and accurate test uses cow's tail hairs to detect the presence of the A1 beta-casein allele.
By offering portable, rapid, and easy to use tests that provide reliable results our goal is to guarantee A2 authenticity and enhance transparency and trust in the global A2 milk ecosystem.
Download or full article to learn more about how A2 milk can help your company innovate and overcome business challenges.
1. Statista. Estimated dairy market value worldwide in 2019 and 2024. https://www.statista.com/statistics/502280/global-dairy-market-value/.
3. McKinsey (2019). A winning growth formula for dairy
4. Deloitte (2017). Global Dairy Sector – Trends and Opportunities.
5. Spink et al. (2019) International Survey of Food Fraud and Related Terminology: Preliminary Results and Discussion. Journal of Food Science, 81/10.
6. Bollongino et al. (2012). Modern Taurine Cattle Descended from Small Number of Near-Eastern Founders. Mol. Biol. Evol. 29(9):2101–2104.
7. Bentivoglio et al., (2020). Is there a Promising Market for the A2 Milk? Analysis of the Italian Consumer Preferences. MDPI Sustainability 2020, 12.
8. Allied Market Research (2020) https://www.alliedmarketresearch.com/a2-milk-market-A06359
9. Label Insight (2016). The Food Revolution Study. How Consumer Demand for Transparency is Shaping the Food Industry