Three myths about lactose free food ingredients debunked by our expert
The great thing about high-quality lactose free food ingredients is that they not only make food products lactose free. They also provide other functionalities to create even tastier food products that are interesting for a variety of consumer segments. The business opportunities of lactose free are still fairly unknown. To dispel the mystery, I address some of the most common misconceptions about lactose free in this blog.
1. “Lactose free food is a niche market.”
False. 70 percent of the world’s population are lactose intolerant, and so the need for lactose free products undoubtedly exists. Sure, the awareness of lactose intolerance is still a work in progress in some parts of the world, and lactose free might not be the best selling point there. But even then, lactose free products have real potential if you approach the market from the digestive wellness point of view. For example, you might market lactose free products as ‘easy on the stomach’, provided that local legislation allows it.
Lactose free dairy and baby food is currently an 9.96-billion-euro market, but it is estimated to grow to 13.5 billion euros in the coming years. This could add up to 36% growth in the next five years.
Potential consumers of lactose free products are no longer limited to people diagnosed with lactose intolerance, as all product groups can benefit from being lactose free. In Finland, for example, the lactose intolerance rate is only 17 percent, and so lactose intolerants might be considered a niche segment. Yet, lactose free dairy products are often the preferred choice over regular products among all Finnish consumers.
Finns have realized that with the right lactose free ingredients, lactose free products taste as good or even better than regular products. That makes them a great choice for the whole family or a group of guests. Consumers are often happy to pay a premium for the ease of not having to serve separate dishes for one or two lactose intolerants.
2. “If we develop a lactose free product, it will cannibalize our own portfolio.”
False. There are other options than to replicate the same product just using lactose free ingredients. A well thought lactose free product does not cannibalize but adds to your product portfolio, attracting new consumer segments.
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Dennis van der VeerHead of Customer Development Dairy, Beverages and Lactose Free Technologies
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