The market for lactose-free products is still growing as an increasing number of customers choose lactose-free items as part of a healthy lifestyle. This is turning the gluten-free, sugar free and health food category from niche into mainstream.
Consumer prefers healthy
The lactose-free market is developing rapidly thanks to the health-conscious consumer, according to the Free From / Functional Food Expo that took place yesterday and today. During the fourth edition, this time in the RAI Amsterdam, lactose-free, gluten-free innovations are on display, accompanied by trends in the health & vital food industry.
"The lactose-free and dairy-free market's growth is mostly because of the "healthy lifestyle" movement. About 12 % of consumers in Great Britain buys lactose-free items. 6 % does so because they feel lactose-free is healthier and not because they are lactose-intolerant or allergic", according to market research firm Mintel's Innovation & Insight director, David Jago.
"There are opportunities to develop new alternatives to dairy products, like cheese and desserts. Flavour is the most important purchase motivation, while almonds and coconut will become soy replacements", Jago predicts.
Finland leader in lactose-free
Particularly, Western and Eastern Europe and Latin America have helped grow the lactose-free market. "The expectations are that the market will grow from 6 % now to 11 % in 2020", says DSM Food Specialties' senior marketing communications manager Jose Rooseboom.
"Lactose-free items are a mainstream product range in Finland, where it is widely available in supermarkets and restaurants. We also see a similar trend in Colombia, while the market still needs to develop elsewhere", Roseboom said.
Food Blogger Convention: collaborate with food brands
For the first time ever, the European Food Blogger Convention also took place during the event. More than 300 bloggers from all across Europe highlighted the "free from" product range and they also received information about innovations and new technologies.
"Food bloggers are increasingly important for many food manufacturers to bring a brand to the customer's attention", co-organizer and blogger Carlijn Bröring said. "Some food bloggers have more than 100,000 followers and they can exert a positive influence over newly launched and existing food brands."
"Food brands increasingly collaborate with bloggers in order to create an online community around their brands and to provide information and news. Even media have found bloggers to be interesting, which is why there is a strong need for a platform to exchange knowledge and contacts."