Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest significant amounts of lactose, which is the predominant sugar of milk. If the sugar is ingested it can cause nausea, cramps, bloating and diarrhea.
Although Emmi's alternative drink contains no lactose the company have stressed that it contains all the important nutrients of normal milk but is suitable for those with the allergy.
The condition in some European countries is very common. In Sweden for example, Lactose intolerance is the third most common food allergy, and 5 per cent of the population suffers from the allergy.
A report from the British Medical journal (BMJ) in November last year indicated that 2003 saw an increase in the number of people who have had visits to hospitals with food allergy.
To address the problem that many consumers find with allergies, last year the food retailer Tescos launched 50 own brand food products that are free from gluten and dairy.