Lactose-free and Organic: More on the shelf and in the basket

I’m seeing more products with certification, origin and ethical-related claims – such as sustainably packaged, free range or organic – than ever before. Probably you are too, and this is no surprise. As consumers we are increasingly demanding food that addresses the welfare of animals, farmers, employees, society at large, and of course the planet.

The dairy industry is definitely taking note of and reacting to this trend. Apart from “natural”, which has been used for years, manufacturers of dairy products label their brands with claims related to sustainability and authenticity. Six different categories can be counted: organic, GMO-free, produced locally, packaged sustainably, free-range, and most recently, “more money for farmers.”1 Can you add to the list? Of course, a product can combine multiple approaches, although I have yet to come across a dairy product that mentions all six!

Product Labels: a way to promote dairy as sustainable and close to nature

Fascinated by these claims, I recently read a report by Euromonitor indicating that adding sustainability credentials to dairy products recovers the traditionalist approach to farming and dairy production.  It better connects with what most of us understand of dairy production: a family affair with generations of dairy farmers working the same farm. It feels family-based, small-scale, and very close to nature, creating products with a “better-for-you” connotation.1

Lactose-free chilled milk: also promoted as organic and GMO-free

Lactose-free products nowadays also fall into the “better-for-you” bucket. Not surprisingly, I came across some remarkable statistics2 that backed up this increased focus on product label claims. More than half (57%) of lactose-free dairy launches in 2018 included a claim that the product was ethical/sustainable. Another 8.8% claimed GMO-free, while 5.5% of the products claimed to be organic.

When it comes to lactose-free chilled milk launches, the picture is even more pronounced. Lactose-free chilled milk is strongly promoted as organic: almost 12% of new 2018 launches contain an organic claim, with a regional focus in North America and EMEA. Almost 15% of the 2018 lactose-free chilled milk launches contain GMO-free claims (more than double compared to the year before), with a regional focus on EMEA, APAC and to a lesser extent, North America.

What does all this mean?

Also noteworthy is that vitamin/fortified and low/no/reduced fat lactose-free milks are much more prominent in North America and Latin America than in other regions. An example is Lala Yomi chocolate-flavored lactose-free milk which is fortified with vitamins A and D. Although it’s marketed at children, I wouldn’t mind sampling it myself!

My inbox parallels these results. I am receiving more and more customer requests from these regions to develop more healthy concepts with lactose-free and vitamins, in line with this trend.

In addition to these three claims, it’s worth keeping an eye on three other claims that are increasingly seen in the marketplace: no additives/preservatives; high/added protein; and functional/bone health.

Are you choosing lactose-free too?

To enjoy all these health benefits, many people are choosing to drink lactose-free milk because they believe it adds valuable nutritional elements to their daily diet, which they don’t want to miss by skipping dairy products out of their eating pattern, and is easier to digest. Is this your experience too?

At DSM we supply enzymes and vitamins for lactose-free and healthy dairy. In addition, we have the most extensive portfolio of fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins in the industry. Like all DSM solutions, our vitamins – whether as straights or in a customized premix – are of the highest quality. We have been working with customers all around the world to successfully innovate and evolve this category beyond lactose-intolerance. Drop me an email and I would be delighted to talk with you about your specific lactose-free questions or requirements.

1 Euromonitor Passport, Sustainable dairy: trends and growth opportunities, Nov 2018
2  Mintel Global New Product Database. Available online: (accessed on 02-2019)

DSM Solution

Enabling lactose-free dairy that tastes great with Maxilact®LGi, the purest classical lactase.

Published on

22 May 2019