The research study covers the present scenario and growth prospects of the global lactose-free food market for 2017-2021. The market is segmented on product (diary and baby food), and geography (the Americas, EMEA, and APAC).
Many consumers are now opting for lactose-free products due to the perceived health benefits of these products. Most consumers feel that drinking cow's milk can upset their digestive system and cause bloating. The growing demand for lactose-free products, in turn, is encouraging many manufacturers to make modifications to their processing techniques and dosages, and focus on lactose-free product formulations. In the UK, the sales of lactose-free milk surged by 50% between 2014 and 2015.
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Technavio food and beverage research analysts highlight the following three factors that are contributing to the growth of the global lactose-free food market:
- Rising levels of lactose intolerance
- Increasing prevalence of health issues such as celiac disease
- Expansion in retail landscape
Rising levels of lactose intolerance
An inability of the body to digest a significant amount of lactose present in milk and dairy products is known as lactose intolerance. Some ethnic groups are more lactose intolerant than others. The demand for lactose-free food products is driven by the increasing incidences of food allergies and lactose intolerances.
Manjunath Reddy, a lead food research analyst at Technavio, says, “Lactose intolerance can be seen in approximately 90% of the adults in the East Asian population segment. In the US, occurrences of food allergies are estimated to have increased by 18% in the last decade. The growing incidences of food allergies such as lactose intolerance have spurred the demand for lactose-free products.”
Increasing prevalence of health issues such as celiac disease
Lactose-free products are mostly for people who have lactose intolerance and related disorders such as celiac disease. According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA), approximately one in 133 people in the US has celiac disease, which is approximately 1% of the total North American population.
“Diagnosis of celiac disease and lactose intolerance has increased with the awareness of these disorders by both consumers and healthcare professionals. Previously, it used to take up to 8 years to diagnose celiac disease. Today, with enhanced awareness and better diagnostic tools, the time needed for the diagnosis is reducing,” adds Manjunath.
Expansion in retail landscape
The organized retail sector worldwide is expanding significantly with the establishment of supermarkets, hypermarkets, and specialty stores. Large organized retailers primarily sell lactose-free food products such as lactose-free milk, lactose-free cheese, and lactose-free infant formula.
Convenience and value for money are important parameters for consumers, mostly because of their hectic lifestyles and work schedules, and organized retailers provide both by stocking a wide assortment of products under a single roof. Thus, consumer shopping patterns have shifted toward supermarkets and hypermarkets, further increasing the importance of organized retailers for vendors.
- Arla Foods
- McNeil Nutritionals
- OMIRA Oberland-Milchverwertung (OMIRA)
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