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.

For example, with Valio lactose free milk powders you can increase the protein content of your product and still have a rich and creamy taste and texture. Or you can replace sugar with milk protein in your products, guaranteeing natural sugar reduction without having to use artificial sweeteners.

"Our customers are constantly surprised by what our lactose free ingredients can do for their product and business."

These types of products are what health-conscious consumers are looking for and want to invest in. You can hit the health & wellness trend as well as the indulgence trend and create a premium product that is a great complement to your portfolio. A new innovative product might even boost overall sales by raising interest in your existing portfolio, brand and company.

3. “Lactose free ingredients give our products a poor taste or weird texture.”

False. When lactose free ingredients are manufactured using the freshest milk and the most advanced technology, they make food products taste just as good or even better than regular products. Valio has a wide selection of lactose free ingredients for a vast variety of uses. They provide the right taste profile for every application. For some food products, the natural fresh taste of milk is the best way to go. Other products benefit from the slightly sweet and rich taste, allowing natural sugar reduction in drinks and desserts, for instance.

"Consumers are not willing to compromise on taste or texture. Nor should they. With the right ingredients, you can make your products lactose free but also enhance their taste, texture and appearance."

Taste it and believe it – Request for a free sample

Click below and request for a sample of our lactose free milk made with Valio FAST TRACK™ technology.


Through our long experience, we have found that in many applications lactose free ingredients enhance taste, texture and appearance. One prime example is lactose free ice cream. Valio Eila® lactose free milk powders give it a smooth texture and a very pleasant mouthfeel.

For additional information, technical support and co-creation projects, please contact our Customer Development Manager Dennis van der Veer.

Dennis van der Veer

Head of Customer DevelopmentContact our specialist for additional information, technical support and co-creation projects.

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