KENYA – The New Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC), one of the leading dairy processors in Kenya has officially launched a low lactose milk product in collaboration with the Finnish firm Valio Dairy, an addition to its Gold Crown brand targeting lactose intolerant consumers.

The new milk aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle comes in an orange pack, featuring the companies prominent crown logo, is available in a 250 ml, 500 ml and one litre packs, and will be sold in all outlets and retail at Sh150 (US$1.46) per litre.

The New KCC Managing Director (MD), Nixon Sigey, said that the milk is a response to the recent prevalence of lactose intolerance cases in the country and the lager East Africa region.

“This new product will provide lactose intolerant Kenyans with an opportunity to enjoy their milk again. The milk is a delicious option that not only retains the great taste of regular milk but also help eliminate abdominal discomfort,” said Sigey.

He said that the launch of such an innovative product confirms their commitment to continue to invest in product research and development widening the range of lactose free products.

 “For those with lactose intolerance, consuming regular milk can cause digestive issues, such as abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea and belching, hence the lactose free milk comes with natural taste, colour and aroma,” added Sigey.

The milk is suitable for drinking, cooking, baking, use with cereals and essentially all the usage of milk and is fit from the weaning age and above.

Trade and Industrialisation Secretary Peter Munya said the new product would help the dairy firm to expand its market base locally and in the region, hence boosting its market share.

“This is a new move by New KCC that will help it to reach new markets using this innovation,” he said.

The launch is part of the overall ongoing billion-shilling modernization upgrade agenda that has seen the company invest in the modernization of its facilities.

The state-owned dairy firm has received half a billion shillings (US$4.87m) from the strategic food reserve to purchase surplus milk from farmers occasioned by good rains in recent months.

Livestock Principal Secretary Harry Kimtai says talks between Treasury and the ministry are still ongoing to release an additional two billion shillings (US$19.48m) to mop up milk surplus in the market in efforts to steady prices in coming months.

Since the onset of the rains in August this year, milk production has increased significantly leading to a monthly surplus of 105 million litres.

The Kenya Dairy Board says it plans to crack down on illegal milk vendors and start random testing at milk ATMS to safety standards are upheld.

Bio Food Products, a premium dairy processor targeting the high-end market, is the other local firm that produces lactose-free milk.