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Lactose-free food is used as a replacement for dairy-free products. Lactose intolerance is a condition where the body is unable to digest lactose, a type of sugar naturally present in the cow milk. The lactose-free foods were initially formulated for the population having lactose intolerance and associated allergies. However, the trending consumption of plant-based dairy alternatives has propelled the growth of lactose-free foods among general consumers as well. The evolving consumer’s preferences towards vegan, highly convenient and nutritious food products owing to the fast-paced lifestyles has nudged manufacturers to embark on innovation in dairy alternatives category. The introduction of innovative foods such as lactose-free ice creams is expected to further boost its market growth.
Lactose-free food consists of milk, bakery products, chocolates, smoothies, infant formula, and others. Lactose-free food products are formulated with zero or insignificant amounts of lactose to provide the necessary nutritional benefits without having any negative side-effects of lactose on the body. The rise in population facing difficulties in digesting lactose due to the lower level of lactases in the body has prompted them to switch to lactose-free food leading to its market expansion.
The incidences of infants and adults having lactose intolerance have increased in recent years which has spurred the consumption rate of lactose-free food. The consumers across the globe are shifting towards vegan diet due to reasons such as health awareness, animal welfare, and environmental sustainability. These factors have cumulatively aided in the global lactose-free food market.
Key Market Driver -
Rising Incidences of Lactose Intolerance among Consumers
Key Market Restraint -
Affordability of Dairy-based Products
The affordability of dairy-based products over dairy-alternatives is one of the major reasons that has hampered the lactose-free food market growth. The market penetration of dairy-based products is more in the emerging economies due to the presence of an established consumer base.
The key companies operating in the global lactose-free food market are, Cargill, Inc., Galaxy Nutritional Foods, Inc., Green Valley Organics, Edlong Dairy Technologies, Parmalat SpA, Valio Ltd., Alpro, OMIRA Oberland-Milchverwertung, Crowley Foods, and Arla Foods.
The coconut is the leading choice of raw material for formulating lactose-free food owing to its easy availability and ease of processing. Soy segment is witnessing a significant demand for its wide utility in various food products such as tofu and milk as a replacement to cottage cheese and cow/goat milk, respectively. The soy is also rich in protein and calcium making it a healthy alternative to dairy. Almond milk segment is gaining traction owing to its neutral taste which acts as a base for formulating blends.
The dairy segment is leading among the other lactose-free food application segments owing to its diverse product range such as cottage cheese, milk, yogurt, ice cream, and others. The lactose-free infant formula segment is growing due to the rising infant population facing lactose intolerance. The bakery and confectionery segment are also gaining popularity as the manufacturers are widely incorporating lactose-free ingredients in various indulgence food such as chocolates, cakes, and pastries. The supermarkets and hypermarkets are leading distribution channels as it is the most preferred choice of the consumers for purchasing owing to the availability of vast variety of goods under the same roof. The supermarkets and hypermarkets have gained traction among the consumers due to the presence of dedicated shelves along with attractive discounts offered by them on bulk-buying.
North America is one of the leading markets of lactose-free food and it is expected to grow exponentially in the foreseeable years. The increase in environmental awareness among the consumers along with the growth in the vegan trend has enabled the market growth for lactose-free products. The manufacturers are developing improvised lactose-free food products such as pasta, made with rice, maize, and quinoa. These developments are expected to drive the regional lactose-free food market.
Asia Pacific is anticipated to foresee a substantial growth in the forthcoming years owing to the rapid urbanization. The popularity of westernized culture and consumers demanding for innovative food has led to the integration of lactose-free food in their diet. The rise in disposable income of the consumers in the developing economies are permitting them to spend more on such expensive products which is expected to increase the regional sales performance of lactose-free food.
Europe is expected to witness a significant growth in the foreseeable years owing to consumers growing health awareness. The low-fat content along with added nutrients such as proteins and calcium in the lactose-free food is gaining traction among the obese population and also among the fitness enthusiasts, apart from the targeted lactose intolerant population.
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