Global Lactose-free Infant Formula Market - Growth, Trends and Forecasts (2020 - 2025)
The global lactose-free infant formula market is projected to record a CAGR of 7.8% during the forecast period (2020-2025).
The market is driven by the growing population of lactose intolerant newborns due to the newborn babies’ inability to digest sugar elements is increasing over the years. The major end-user of these formulas also include premature babies with galactosemia, infants with cows milk protein allergies, and others. Thus, the growing need for a substitute product to meet the nutrition demand of the population is compelling companies to enter this market. These formulas are mostly made from cow's milk with the lactose removed. For fussy babies that suffer from colic and possibly a mild lactose intolerance, there are several brands of lactose-free formulas that have had all the milk sugar removed and replaced with a vegetable sugar (such as corn syrup).
In terms of distribution channel, the supermarkets and hypermarkets category dominated the lactose-free infant formula market, accounting for the largest share of the global revenue, owing to the consumers prefer this category to purchase their products due to the availability of a wide range of options as well as the facility of scanning the product details before any purchase. Also the layout of the supermarket and promotional campaigns by leading brands have also increased the sales volume in the supermarkets and hypermarkets segment.
Companies are expanding their product line with innovative products to meet the consumer demand. For instance, Abbott brand Isomil offers a soy based lactose free infant formula with high nutritional benefits as the product consists of enhanced with EyeQ Plus, with higher lutein and DHA to help with the brain and eye development.
Key Market Trends
Rising number of Lactose-Intolerance Infants
Lactose intolerance (that can be either primary or congenital) is a clinical syndrome that can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, flatulence, and/or bloating after ingestion of food containing lactose. The underlying physiological problem is lactose malabsorption which is caused by an imbalance between the amount of lactose ingested and the capacity of the enzyme lactase to hydrolyze it. These conditions require treatment with lactose-free infant formula under medical supervision.
As per the U.S. National Library of Medicine, around 65.0% of the human population is lactose intolerant. This condition is most common in Finland, wherein its affects an estimated 1 in 60,000 newborns and the number is increasing at a significant pace.
The institute also reported that this condition is the lowest in individuals that have a long history of dependence on unfermented milk products as an important food source. For instance, approximately only 5% of North European Descent suffer through this condition. Moreover, this condition cannot be cured. Therefore, there has been an increase in demand for lactose free infant formula, which is expected to drive the market.
Europe to Hold the Major Share in the Global Market
Europe is expected to witness a double-digit growth, holding the major share in the global market for lactose-free infant formulas owing to the presence of a large lactose intolerant population in the region. About 80% of the base powder for infant formula in Europe is made in Ireland. The milk marketed as ‘lactose-free’ in the region has the lactose replaced by glucose syrups and milk for special medical purposes which should be used under medical supervision.
Few of the prominent players in the region include Dana Dairy Group, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition, DANA Sweden AB, and Nestle, among others.
In the United Kingdom, the lactose-free milk manufacturer Danone brand- Aptamil and Nestle brand- SMA offers lactose-free infant formulas that are both marketed as suitable from birth and are widely available over the counter. SMA lactose-free formula is presented as being suitable not only for infants with congenital lactose intolerance but also for infants who have been diagnosed with lactose intolerance following a bout of gastroenteritis. Aptamil Lactose Free is suggested for use for infants with lactose or sucrose intolerance or those suffering from diarrhoea, bloating or wind caused by temporary lactose intolerance.
The global lactose-free infant formula market is fragmented, owing to the presence of a large number of regional and domestic players from different countries. Emphasis is given on the merger, expansion, acquisition, and partnership of the companies along with new product development as strategic approaches adopted by the leading companies to boost their brand presence among consumers. Key players dominating the regional market include Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., Nestle SA, Abbott Laboratories Co., Dana Dairy Group, Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition, and Valio Ltd, among others.
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