Italian dairy group Granarolo has made a EUR5m (US$5.9m) investment in its plant in Gioia del Colle, in southern Italy, where it will produce its new reduced-sugar G+ milk product.

The Bologna-based firm says the product has 30% less sugar than regular milk while its other nutritional elements remain unchanged.

It will be available on the shelves of large retailers from next month.

Granarolo G+ is made with 100% Italian milk from dairy farms in the firm’s chain.

The company said the production process involves first breaking down the milk sugar, lactose, into its two simple sugars, glucose and galactose, Then, “thanks to an innovative and patented filtration system”, these are separated into the various components of milk, obtaining a product with -30% of sugar than regular milk.

Gianpiero Calzolari, chairman of Granarolo, said: “Granarolo G+ is a true revolution in the milk market – a unique innovation {that} can create a new product category and respond to the emerging needs of consumers, who look with increasing interest to functional foods in relation to welfare.”

Quoting research from Nielsen, he added. “The wellness/health segment is, in fact, the fastest growing in the market.”

“G+ will be produced in our plant in Gioia del Colle in Puglia, where we have made investments of more than EUR5m and created the opportunity to recruit young people.”

The launch of the new Granarolo G+ range will be supported by a “major advertising campaign on television and especially digital media”.

Last month Granarolo bought Swiss dairy firm Emmi’s 24% stake in local cheese business Venchiaredo.