Lactose-intolerance isn’t the only reason for the strong growth of this category. I’m noticing that the health benefits of lactose-free are playing an increasingly prominent role.
At DSM we conducted an international consumer survey to investigate why consumers are purchasing lactose-free products. I found the results made fascinating bed-time reading! An overwhelming number of consumers of lactose-free dairy in large markets such as Colombia and China say that their main purchase driver is the health appeal of lactose-free products, not merely lactose-intolerance. I was particularly struck by the examples of China and Colombia, where 82% and 73% (respectively) of the consumers polled consider lactose-free dairy to be healthier than regular dairy. Those are seriously impressive figures!
For many consumers, maintaining a healthy diet goes beyond avoiding the “bad,” like too much sugar or fat. Increasingly, it’s about adding more of the “good,” seeking out foods and drinks that offer added health benefits like more protein, added vitamins or superfood ingredients. Offering more health benefits in addition to lactose-free therefore makes perfect sense! Have you considered adding vitamins to your lactose-free dairy products? In an increasing number of product launches we are noting that the high protein content and reduced sugar levels of lactose-free are being strongly promoted. By adding vitamins and minerals you can further build on these health attributes.
I would also say that range is key. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, milk is the largest lactose-free dairy category, but coming up fast are lactose-free yogurt and – particularly – lactose-free cheese. Manufacturers who thus have a wide lactose-free portfolio incorporating these three product areas are better able to take advantage of consumer demand in this category. But don’t be afraid to look beyond the big three of plain milk, yogurt and cheese. Personally I would recommend considering soft cheese desserts, or milk varieties with, for example, added calcium and proteins and enriched with vitamin A, maybe even combined with fruit juices.
In short, never stop innovating!
Of course, innovation doesn’t apply just to product development. What about putting your innovative thought processes to work to provide lactose-free information and advice on social media and mobile health apps? Harness their power and popularity to raise awareness of lactose intolerance and the need for lactose-free dairy.
Let’s get #lactosefree trending!
Personally I love picking up a coffee latte on the move. So do millions of other busy consumers and commuters! Providing lactose-free dairy options for such folk in cafés, restaurants, fast food outlets and canteens is therefore a must.
I see more and more customer requests coming in to develop more healthy concepts with lactose-free and vitamins, in line with this trend. At DSM we supply enzymes, solutions for sugar reduction and vitamins for lactose-free and healthy dairy. We have been working with customers all around the world to successfully innovate and evolve this category beyond lactose-intolerance. Just drop me an email and I would be delighted to talk with you about your specific lactose-free questions or requirements.
In an increasing number of product launches we are noting that the high protein content and reduced sugar levels of lactose-free are being strongly promoted.
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07 July 2019