Agribusiness  April 13, 2015

New Zealand-based milk company establishes US headquarters in Boulder

BOULDER – A New Zealand-based dairy company that recently established a U.S. headquarters in Boulder is landing its first products on store shelves in California this week.

Former Einstein Noah Restaurant Group CEO Jeff O’Neill is heading a2 Milk Company’s wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary. The company, which aims to shake up the industry with a product line that excludes a certain protein found in most milk, announced last month that it planned to start selling its products in the United States, starting with California.

But, with a national expansion in mind, a2 is basing its U.S. operations in a new office at 2305 Canyon Blvd. in Boulder. Marketing Director Jim Smith said Monday that the Boulder office has been open for about a month and employs about seven or eight people so far.

“Boulder is a wonderful combination of a number of things a company like ours can use,” Smith said, referencing Boulder’s startup and natural and organic scenes. “It just seems like a really good place to start a company like this if you’re looking to start a next-generation type of company.”

Founded in 2000, a2 is listed on the public stock exchanges in both New Zealand and Australia. The company, which does about $100 million in annual revenue, distributes its products in Australia, China and the United Kingdom. Smith said the California rollout will hit major chains like Albertson’s and Whole Foods.

Company officials have stated that they plan to spend about $20 million over the next three to five years on the U.S. rollout. But Smith said there are no specific plans beyond California at this time.

“We’re just trying to land and build a core of loyal followers (in California),” Smith said.

A2 officials believe their milk could bring a number of people who might have digestive issues with traditional dairy products back into the dairy fold. While most cows’ milk contains a pair of beta-casein proteins called A1 and A2, a2 officials say they source their milk from cows that produce only the A2 protein. A2 officials believe the A1 protein is the source of many of the digestive issues caused by traditional dairy.

Smith said cows that produce only the A2 protein account for about 25 percent of the worldwide herd. While many traditional dairies might well have such cows, their products are currently mixed with milk that also has the A1 protein. The company’s products sold in the United States, Smith said, will be sourced from farms in the Midwest and the East.

“It’s an American product through and through,” Smith said.

BOULDER – A New Zealand-based dairy company that recently established a U.S. headquarters in Boulder is landing its first products on store shelves in California this week.

Former Einstein Noah Restaurant Group CEO Jeff O’Neill is heading a2 Milk Company’s wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary. The company, which aims to shake up the industry with a product line that excludes a certain protein found in most milk, announced last month that it planned to start selling its products in the United States, starting with California.

But, with a national expansion in mind, a2 is basing its U.S. operations in a new office at 2305…

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