Finnish dairy company Valio is launching its lactose-free milk in Sweden, following the success of the product on the home market.
Valio, which carries out research and development of functional foods, claims to be the first in the world to hold a patent on completely lactose-free milk.
The company claims that unlike low-lactose milk, its lactose-free milk tastes exactly the same as ordinary milk.
"Many consumers suffering from lactose intolerance have simply stopped drinking milk. Now they can drink it again and use milk in cooking like anybody else," said Lena Lundvall, Valio marketing manager.
Lactose intolerance is currently the third most common food allergy in Sweden, and the number of lactose intolerant people, currently around 5 per cent in Sweden, is constantly rising.
Valio currently offers a large range of low-lactose products in Sweden, under the HYLA brand. The company's research and development on lactose-free milk began fifteen years ago and has culminated in a number of product manufacturing patents. In 2002, the Finnish food industry elected Valio lactose-free milk Star Product of the Year in the drinks category.
Valio removes the lactose from milk by chromatographic separation, and the enzyme lactase is added to degrade the remainder. This, claims the company, means that the end product retains the proper milk taste. In comparison, all low-lactose milk on the market today is sweet compared with ordinary milk because lactase is added during production to degrade lactose into glucose and galactose.
The recommended retail price for Valio's lactose-free milk drink (foodstuffs legislation states that the product cannot be called milk because the lactose has been removed) is SEK19.90, similar to soybean-based alternatives. It has a fat content of 1.5 per cent and keeps for approximately two weeks.