The European market accounted for most of this growth, tripling in size over the period to $400 million. Europe will continue to offer the best potential for lactose-free dairy products, says the report. Sales in the region are expected to almost double between 2012 and 2016 to an estimated $700 million. Growth in the US is anticipated to slow down in the coming half-decade, but will nonetheless expand from $500 million $650 million in 2016.
Julian Mellentin, director of New Nutrition Business and author of the report, says: “The success of the lactose-free dairy category over the past five years has been one of the food industry’s most significant yet little-noticed developments. Many companies have had their eye on the surge in sales of products that are ‘free-from’ something that some consumers perceive as negative for their health. But to-date most of them have focused their attention on gluten-free, failing to notice that this trend has also been having a major impact on the dairy category, too.”
According to Julian, the boom in the lactose-free market has so far been driven predominantly by three brands: Arla Foods’ Lactofree, Valio’s Zero Lactose and McNeil’s Lactaid – all of which are profiled in detailed case studies in the new report.
Lactose intolerance is a condition where people can’t digest the lactose – a type of sugar – found in milk. The symptoms are not life threatening but can cause major discomfort. They include nausea, stomach cramps, bloating, excess gas and diarrhoea. The condition is more common in certain groups but prevalence varies greatly, from about 10 percent among white Europeans to as high as 95 percent in China.
Lactose-Free Dairy: Opportunities, strategies and key case studies is available to purchase online.