The a2 Milk Co. announced expanded sales agreements with leading supermarket chains Kroger and Albertsons/Safeway. These additions complete the company’s goal of achieving national geographic distribution in the U.S. market.
Starting this month, a2 Milk branded products will begin to appear on the shelves of additional Kroger stores and Albertsons/Safeway stores, bringing the company’s total distribution to approximately 12,400 outlets operated by 80 major grocers across the country. The milk brand is already available at other leading retailers, including Costco, Walmart, Ahold, Sprouts Farmers Market and Whole Foods Market. Sales velocities in both new and existing accounts have accelerated, and total store distribution has increased by almost 45% since November 2018.
“The a2 Milk Co. couldn’t be more thrilled with the expanded partnerships that we have secured with two of the leading supermarket chains in the U.S.,” The a2 Milk Co. U.S. chief executive officer Blake Waltrip said. “The acceptance of the a2 Milk innovative proposition continues to be a true validation of our products and our benefit to consumers. Signing on with Kroger and Albertsons/Safeway will allow a2 Milk products to gain additional exposure in new markets, bringing us closer to our goal of giving every American consumer the chance to enjoy the nutritious benefits of real milk.”
This significant expansion comes at a time of international growth for the Australia-headquartered dairy nutrition company. For its half-year results, a2 Milk announced total revenue of $613.1 million (NZ) and a 52.7% gain in operating earnings earnings before interest, taxes and amortization. In addition, the company reported that the U.S. region’s momentum continued, with sales growth of 114.1% in the half underpinned by increased investment in brand awareness and a stronger distribution base.
Recent U.S. research data indicate that the U.S. brand development looks a lot like the experience the company had with fresh milk in Australia, with the a2 Milk brand in the U.S. successfully growing category consumption and sourcing volume across multiple product segments and trading up consumers from conventional milk while demonstrating high levels of consumer loyalty once the brand is trialed.
The a2 Milk Co. said it will now seek to further extend its geographic reach into other parts of the U.S., including the Southwest, West, Pacific Northwest and Midwest, as well as throughout its more established markets in California, then the Northeast and the Southeast.
Other major grocers carrying a2 Milk products include Wegmans, Food Lion, Meijer, Target, Publix, ShopRite, HEB and Market Basket.
Ordinary cows’ milk naturally contains a mix of two main types of beta-casein proteins: A1 and A2 protein types. Published research suggests that a2 Milk may help avoid stomach discomfort in some people because it contains only the A2 protein type and no A1.
The a2 Milk Co. works with local U.S. dairy farmers to identify cows that naturally produce only the A2 protein type and process their milk separately, making it possible for some people with sensitivities to enjoy real cows’ milk. The company pays a premium to all of its farmers partners, and all of the U.S. farms are certified by Validus for animal welfare.