As the saying goes, “there’s no use crying over spilt milk”, but there could be plenty of tears in the legal battle between Japanese beverage giant Lion Group and The a2 Milk Company, with the former now accusing its rival of misleading and deceptive advertising.
Lion alleges the representations that a2 milk makes many consumers feel better than they do after drinking regular cow’s milk are false, according to Fairfax, which hits at the core of a2’s marketing, product proposition and scientific and medical research.
Lion is also seeking an order to restrain a2 from using the phrase “Feel the difference” in promoting its milk, as well as damages.
Fairfax said the fresh accusations, which have been filed in the federal court, add to an already heated stoush between the two companies, which all began a couple of years ago when Lion decided to highlight the fact that A2 protein was in its milk by introducing new labelling on its PURA and Dairy Farmers brands, using the words “NATURALLY contains A2 protein” on the front of its bottles, and disclosing on the back of them that its milk “contains A2 protein, as well as A1 protein. Of those proteins, our tests to date confirm that 50 to 70 per cent is A2”.
This caused a2 to file a statement of claim in June over the rights to use the term “A2 protein” on its labels, and alleged that Lion engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct.