Insights

Trends Driving Low Lactose Dairy 

23 Oct 2020

1 min

Low lactose product claims on the rise

Low, reduced or free from lactose products are seeing 6% growth year on year globally. In 2018, products with these claims accounted for one third of Food for Special Medical Purposes launches in the Asia-Pacific region. 

Importantly, the majority of this growth has been driven from dairy products that are low in lactose. 

Low lactose dairy gives those with some level of lactose intolerance more options while it also ensures those individuals are getting the value of naturally present, bioactive nutrients found naturally in dairy. This becomes more important as nutrition requirements change with age.

1/3

Of product launches in 2018 had low, reduced or free from lactose claims

14Bn NZD

Forecasted size of market in 2020


5 key trends driving low lactose dairy:

  1. Worldwide prevalence of lactose sensitivity in recent populations
    The ability to digest lactose differs widely across the globe, with only 1% suffering from lactose sensitivity in the Netherlands, 90% of adults in parts of South East Asia.

  2. Symptoms are different for everyone but seem to consistently worsen with ageing
    The enzyme for breaking down lactose naturally declines as we age. Certain diseases and medications can temporarily increase lactose intolerance symptoms, so low lactose options for medical nutrition and healthy ageing are important to consider.

  3. Providing the goodness of dairy to all
    There are a variety of plant-based and milk-based options available for those with lactose intolerance. Low lactose dairy naturally contains the goodness of complete protein which is great for muscle maintenance, strength and growth, as well as a suite of naturally available nutrients to support bone health.

  4. Creating options for those with sensitivities
    A top reason for dairy avoidance is perceived intolerance to lactose. Providing a variety of options is key for consumer acceptance.

  5. Muscle preservation becomes more important as we age
    After the age of 30, up to 8% of your muscle mass is lost with each passing decade, with worsening decline after age 60. With the increased requirements for high quality protein, low lactose dairy can be a perfect addition to support muscle maintenance for our healthy agers.
  • [1] Am Fam Physician. 2002 May 1;65(9):1845-1851.
  • [2] Misselwitz, B., Pohl, D., Fruhauf, H., Fried, M., Vavricka, S. R., Fox, M. Lactose malabsorption and intolerance: pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment. United European Gastroenterol J. 2013 Jun;1(3):151-9. doi: 10.1177/2050640613484463.
  • [3] Cargill Dairy White paper: The shifting global dairy market 2018.
  • [4] Lactose-Free Dairy Products: Market Developments, production, Nutrition, and Health Benefits. PJT Dekker, D Koenders, MJ Bruins. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6471712/#B1-nutrients-11-00551.

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