With the Coronavirus fallout affecting most of the globe especially the hospitality and catering sector, demand for milk and milk derivatives has reduced. However, Lactose-Free producers are seeing fewer disruptions. This is predominantly because it is sold through food and supermarket outlets.
The enzyme used to turn regular milk into lactose-free milk is called “lactase”. Estimates suggest that the new Lactose-Free market will grow a further £97m (10%) over the next 3-years. US producers lead the supply currently whilst the global market for lactose-free milk is worth £1bn annually.
Lactose is one of the sugars found in milk, whilst “Lactase” is an enzyme some people produce naturally in their gut.
Lactase splits Lactose = Glucose & Galactose
Where people are Lactose intolerant, they do not produce enough Lactase to digest the milk and hence the reason Lactase added milk is increasing in popularity.
In the UK the dairy-/lactose- free market is worth £517m with the key reason behind growth being positive digestive health and environmental impacts.
In the US, Lactose-free milk was worth $126m in March (30% increase on March 2019) and it is the only dairy product to see such a gain over the past year. Whilst alternatives such as Soy milk and coconut milk saw sales reductions of 12.8% and 4.6% respectively whilst almond milk grew by 7.6%. The growth of lactose-free milk is in the skim & low-fat categories. Big brands such as Coca-Cola wanted a part in this emerging market purchasing “Fairlife” (the leading growth brand of lactose-free milk in the US).
Lactase is increasingly being used in the reduction of sugar in western diets brought on by Government targets.
Lactose free milk have other functional benefits including,
• Higher protein
• Less sugar
• Vitamin & Mineral fortification
• Longer-shelf life
A key question in the UK is – Are we doing enough to take advantage of this growth?
For interest in these areas, please contact Wesley at firstname.lastname@example.org or your local FCG Office.