ITALY – Italian dairy company Granarolo has invested US$5.88 million in a factory in Puglia to support the launch of a reduced-sugar milk line, Granarolo G+.

To reduce the sugar content of the milk, Granarolo has employed a two-step process that breaks down the lactose in the milk into its two basic sugars: glucose and galactose.

According to FoodBev, Granarolo G+ contains 30% less sugar than conventional milk and is expected to be available on retail shelves in November.

“Granarolo G+ is about to revolutionise the milk market,” said Granarolo chairman Gianpiero Calzolari.

“This is a unique innovation that can create a new product category and meet the emerging demand of consumers, who are increasingly attracted by functional foods that are good for you.

Indeed, wellness and health is the biggest-growing sector in the market, recording a volume increase of 6.9% and a value increase of 6.7% in wellness, and a 20% volume increase and 18% value increase in health.

We will be producing G+ in our Gioia del Colle facility in Puglia, where we have invested more than €5 million, and generated the opportunity to employ young people.”

An extensive TV and digital media cutting across social media and mobile platforms will support the launch of the new Granarolo G+ range.

Support activities will also be rolled out at the point of sale, and consumers will be able to scan the QR code on pack labels to see a video that describes the production process patented by Granarolo.

According to data from Nielsen, the group said the innovation was inspired by ‘major consumer changes’, with the sugar-free segment, which currently ranks second to ‘fat free’ in terms of consumer preferences.

“In recent years, diet [and] lifestyles have changed dramatically, and with them so too have consumer choices,” a spokesperson for Granarolo said.

“Consumers are now very attentive to quantity and even more so to the nutritional value of what they are eating.

The less is more trend is continuing to build, year-in and year-out, in the milk category.”