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Lactose Market Size, Share Trends & Industry Analysis, By Purity (Crude Lactose, Edible Lactose, and Refined-edible Grade Lactose), By Color (Yellow Lactose, Pale-yellow to White Lactose, and White Lactose), By Applications (Food, Feed, Infant Formula, and Pharmaceuticals), and Regional Forecast, 2019-2026

Region : Global | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI101774



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The global lactose market size stood at USD 1.19 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 1.53 billion by 2026, exhibiting a CAGR of 3.7% during the forecast period.

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Lactose is a disaccharide sugar, composed on glucose and galactose. It is primarily found in milk and dairy products with contents ranging from 4.1 gm. / 100 grams of milk, to 7.5 gm. / 100 grams. Human milk has the highest concentrations of lactose per 100 grams, while non-fat dry milk contains an estimated 50% to 52% w/w lactose. Other dairy products containing lactose include butter, cheese, milk cream, and others.

Lactose is a by-product of cheese-making. During the process of manufacturing cheese, the liquid whey is separated as a by-product. It is further evaporated and processed, which produces crystalline lactose that is usually found in the monohydrate form. This is further washed and dried to remove impurities, which after drying, milling, and other processes produces yellow lactose. Lactose is commercially offered in different purity ranges and color, each having specific physical and chemical properties. According to various global and regional organizations including the American Dairy Products Institute (ADPI), and the U.S. Dairy Export Council, among other national agencies, lactose is primarily offered in three purity ranges, namely, industrial grade (crude grade), edible grade, and refined edible grade lactose. There are various stringent guidelines that are being established at the global level for purity of lactose in each grade, stating 98% purity for industrial grade, a maximum of 99.4% purity for edible grade, and a maximum of 99.9% purity for refined-edible grade lactose.

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Lactose finds its applications in different industries, including food industry for manufacturing of creams, bakery products, confectioneries, etc., in the feed industry predominantly as an ingredient for pig-feed. Refined-edible grade lactose, a purer form of lactose, finds its applications in infant formula and pharmaceutical industries due to stringent purity requirements in these sectors.


“Rapid Growth of Pharmaceutical and Infant Formula Industries to Drive Market Growth”

Lactose is a key ingredient for manufacturing infant formula, confectionery, and other dairy products. The demand for lactose in the pharmaceutical industry is gradually increasing as well. The pharmaceutical industry is growing at a considerable pace, especially in the emerging countries, such as Brazil, China, India, and other Asia Pacific countries. However, the growth has been sluggish in the developed markets, such as the U.S. and Europe, owing to the maturity of these markets. According to the Indian Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the pharmaceutical industry in India registered an estimated 9.4% year-on-year growth during 2017-2018. According to the CNBC report, the pharmaceutical market in China registered a CAGR of 9.5% during 2013-2017 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 8% during 2019-2022. The high growth of the pharmaceutical industry is projected to lead to the rising demand for lactose, which is primarily used as a coating agent, as a filler in tablets, in other solid dosage forms, and in powdered dosage form in inhalers.

Infant formula industry, on the other hand, is projected to witness a significant growth in terms of volume driven by the rising demand from China and the South East Asian countries. This, along with the growing awareness for infant formula in the U.S. and implementation of new regulations in the country are projected to augment the demand for infant formula globally. In 2018, the global consumption of infant formula was measured at an estimated 2.5 million tons. Countries in Asia Pacific accounted for approximately 65% of the global consumption in 2018, primarily driven by China (40%) in 2018. Lactose being a key ingredient of infant formula, has hence witnessed a steady demand globally. It is anticipated to affect the lactose market revenue positively during the forecast period.

 “Rising Demand for Sports and Clinical Nutrition Products to Boost Demand for Lactose”

The global sports nutrition and dietary supplements industry is growing at a considerable rate owing to various factors such as growth in the number of organized sports as well as increasing participation in recreational and active sports. This, combined with the growing awareness regarding health, fitness, and personal well-being, along with the increasing initiatives by regional governments and non-profit organizations, have led to an increasing demand for sports and clinical nutrition products globally. Clinically established benefits and physical properties of lactose is making it the ideal ingredient in sports drinks. It has been one of the major factors for the rising demand for lactose in the food industry, especially in sports and clinical nutrition segments.

There is a marked change in the consumer behavior and preferences when it comes to health, fitness, and sports. Consumers including pro/amateur athletes, lifestyle consumers, non-professional sports players, etc., are now shifting their focus towards products in the sports and clinical nutrition category. They are aiming towards a healthy lifestyle. The projected growth in the sports and wellness industries, along with market players entering with new products in the market, are anticipated to further drive the lactose market growth during 2019-2026.


 By Purity Outlook

“Refined-edible Segment Dominated Owing to High Application in Pharmaceutical Industry”

In terms of purity, the lactose market is segmented into crude grade, edible grade, and refined-edible grade lactose. The specification of the grades differs on various parameters including total ash content, microbial count, and others. In terms of revenue, the refined-edible grade lactose dominated the global market in 2018. The major applications of this lactose include pharmaceutical and infant formula industries.

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The rising demand from infant formula and pharmaceutical industries for refined-edible grade lactose is combined with various innovative product offerings, such as dry-blend infant-grade lactose by the market players. These have led to the dominance of the segment in the global market. The stringent specification requirement for refined-edible grade lactose from these industries requires additional purification steps. This has led to a comparatively higher price (per ton) of refined-edible grade lactose in the market. These factors have further contributed to the growth of refined-edible grade lactose segment in the global lactose market in 2018.

By Color Outlook

“Pale-yellow to White Segment to Exhibit Notable Growth Stoked by High Demand from Food Industry”

Different grades of lactose are often available in different colors ranging from yellow, pale-yellow to white, and white. The predominant factor associated with the color of lactose is the riboflavin (Vitamin B2) content in the lactose. Higher the content of riboflavin in the lactose, more yellow color it imparts to the final product. The pre-requisites of pharmaceutical industry for lactose is the pure white lactose, owing to its basic applications in the inhalation drugs and as fillers in oral drug formulations. However, the food and infant formula industries do require a certain content of riboflavin in the final product owing to its clinical benefits and taste. This is a crucial lactose market trends that will augment the growth of this segment.

This has led to the food and infant formula applications of lactose requiring pale-yellow to white lactose, depending on the color of the final product, whereas yellow lactose is primarily used in the feed industry. Higher demand for lactose from the food industry for the production of confectionery, cream, and other products has been pivotal in the dominance of pale-yellow to white color segment in the global market. This is further augmented by the ever increasing demand for pale-yellow to white lactose from the infant formula industry owing to the rising consumption of infant formula globally.

By Application Outlook

“Infant Formula Segment to Grow Astonishingly Backed by Increasing Consumption Worldwide”

The consumption of infant formula is rapidly increasing globally, especially in many Asia Pacific countries including China, India, and other South East Asian countries. This, combined with the declining breast feeding rates in developed countries, owing to the increasing percentage of working women, is projected to further boost the demand for infant formula. According to various regional and national statistics, China accounted for an estimated 40% to 45% of the global consumption of infant formula in 2018. This was followed by the U.S. and Europe (countries combined).

The growing consumption of infant formula globally is fueling the demand for lactose as a key ingredient in the infant formula. This is further augmented by the introduction of new dry-blend lactose by key players, such as Arla Foods Ingredients, Fonterra, and others. The introduction of dry-blend lactose has enabled the infant formula manufacturers to increase their annual output by an estimated 15% to 20%. This has further strengthened the demand for lactose from the infant formula industry and is surging the lactose market value.


North America generated a revenue of USD 183.7 million in the year 2018. According to the American Dairy Association, out of the total consumption of 2.5 million tons of infant formula in 2018, the U.S. consumed approximately 150,000 tons of infant formula. This, combined with the higher demand for refined-edible grade lactose from the pharmaceutical industry in the U.S. and the growing demand for confectionery and other food products in the country, are factors driving the lactose market growth in North America.    

Europe accounted for a significant share of the lactose market in 2018. Higher consumption of infant formula in this region, along with the increasing number of pharmaceutical companies entering here to establish manufacturing plants, have been pivotal in the growing usage of lactose in the region. The presence of a large and well-established feed industry in Europe has also played a vital role in the high demand for lactose in 2018.

North America Lactose Market Size, 2018

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In Asia Pacific, countries, such as China, have been dominant in the consumption of lactose in 2018. According to various regional and national estimates, China, India, and Japan accounted for an estimated 30% to 40% of the global feed production in 2018. Also, China and the other Asia Pacific countries were among the dominant producers of infant formula in 2018.

Latin America and the Middle East & Africa are projected to register steady growth rates in the global market during 2019-2026. Higher demand for lactose from the feed and food industries in Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina have been instrumental in driving the demand for lactose in Latin America in 2018.


“Key Players Focus on Investing Huge Sums in Research Sector to Develop Lactose”

Presence of strong distribution network globally and growing investments in the research sector for the development of lactose have been pivotal in the dominance of LACTALIS Ingredients in 2018. LACTALIS Ingredients, Arla Foods Ingredients Group A/S, FrieslandCampina, and Fonterra Co-operative Group together accounted for an estimated 30% to 40% of the global lactose market in 2018.

Other players include few global players, such as Armor Proteines, Lactose (India) Limited, Molkerei MEGGLE Wasserburg GmbH & Co.KG, ALPAVIT, MILEI GmbH, Glanbia plc, Kerry Inc., Hilmar Cheese Company, Inc., and others. There is a considerable inflow of domestic players entering the lucrative lactose market citing the supply demand gap. A few U.S. based manufacturers in the lactose market include Agropur Ingredients, Foremost Farms, Leprino Foods Company, and United Dairymen of Arizona.


  • MILEI GmbH

  • Glanbia Plc.

  • Fonterra Co-operative Group

  • Armor Proteines

  • FrieslandCampina

  • Hilmar Cheese Company, Inc.

  • Lactose (India) Limited

  • Molkerei MEGGLE Wasserburg GmbH & Co.KG

  • Arla Foods Ingredients Group A/S

  • LACTALIS Ingredients

  • Kerry Inc.


An Infographic Representation of Lactose Market

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The report presents a comprehensive assessment of the global lactose market by offering valuable insights, facts, industry-related information, and historical data. Several methodologies and approaches are adopted to develop meaningful assumptions and views. Furthermore, the report offers a detailed analysis and information as per the market segments, helping our readers to get a comprehensive overview of the global market.

 Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



  Value (USD billion)


By Color

  • Yellow

  • Pale-yellow to White

  • White

By Purity

  • Crude Lactose

  • Edible Lactose

  • Refined-edible grade Lactose

By Application

  • Food

  • Feed

  • Infant Formula

  • Pharmaceuticals

By Region

  • North America

  • Europe

  • Asia Pacific

  • Latin America

  • Middle East & Africa



  • In October 2020, MILEI GmbH, a subsidiary of Morinaga Milk Industry Co., Ltd. announced that they will expand their production capacity to almost 170 tons to enhance their lactoferrin production.

  • In May 2021, FrieslandCampina and Ehrmann have signed an agreement for the acquisition of FrieslandCampina’s Russian subsidiary Campina LLC by Ehrmann. This strategic acquisition helps Ehrmann to strengthen its position in Russia.

  • In May 2021, Hilmar Cheese Company, Inc. announced the plans to build a new-state-of-the-art cheese and whey protein processing plant in Dodge City, Kansas. This new facility would help the company meet the growing demand globally.

  • In May 2021, Lactalis Ingredients announced the expansion of its milk powder range with a new type of organic whole milk powder.

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global lactose market was valued at USD 1.19 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 1.53 billion by 2026.

In 2018, the global lactose market was valued at USD 1.19 Million.

Growing at a CAGR of 3.7%, the global lactose market will exhibit moderate growth in the forecast period (2019-2026)

Infant formula segment is expected to be the leading segment in the global lactose market during the forecast period.

Growing consumption of infant formula and increasing application of lactose in pharmaceutical drugs are the key factors driving the global lactose market.

LACTALIS Ingredients, Arla Foods Ingredients Group A/S, and FrieslandCampina are the top players in the global lactose market.

Asia Pacific is expected to hold the highest market share in the lactose market.

Significant price fluctuations combined with the growing demand for refined-edible grade lactose from pharmaceutical industry are some of the significant trends observed in the market.

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Lactose Market Size, Share and Global Industry Trend Forecast till 2026
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