Lactose IntoleranceFood and Sustainability Healthcare 

Increasing Lactose Intolerance Cases: A Scope for Emerging Dairy-Free Products Market

The nutritional value of dairy products is very well-acknowledged by nutritionists and doctors across the world. Milk, for example, is rich in protein, vitamin D, vitaminB12, vitamin A, calcium, etc. Hence, doctors across the world recommend the inclusion of dairy products in a regular diet. It led to a huge growth in the dairy products market up until recently.

However, owing to the rise in lactose intolerance cases and awareness, people are shifting their preference to a dairy-free diet. It took some time even for the doctors to recognize the causes and symptoms of lactose intolerance.

According to a BIS Research report on the global lactose-free dairy products market, in 2019, around 65%-70% of the global population is expected to be lactose intolerant.


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What is Lactose Intolerance?

Lactose intolerance is the body’s incapability of absorbing lactose, which is a form of sugar present in the milk. Human bodies produce an enzyme called lactase in the small intestine which breaks down that sugar to get absorbed in the body. People with a low level of lactase in their bodies are lactose intolerant. It affects the person’s digestive system and causes issues like diarrhea, bloating, gas, acne, etc.

According to BIS Research, the decline in global milk consumption is evident. For instance, in the U.S., milk consumption has declined by over 40% from 1975 to 2019, with consumption of 247 pounds per capita in 1975 to 149 pounds per capita in 2019.

Lactose-Free dairy products market
Source: BIS Research Analysis


The increasing cases of lactose intolerance globally, urbanization, health awareness, and increased income have created a way for the lactose-free dairy products market. The popularity of lactose-free diet trends amongst the affluent urban population also serves as a status symbol in society, which contributes to the growth of the market.

This article further explores the variety of dairy-free products, current and future trends, and the scope of the market.


Popular Substitutes for Dairy Products

Dairy substitutes

The dairy-free diet is the new popular trend that has caught mass attention. The market is now filled with various substitutes like milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream, which aim to fulfill the nutritional value while satiating the need for dairy products.

Lactose-free milk: Some of the most nutritional and palatable milk substitutes currently available in the market are almond milk, soy milk, cashew milk, coconut milk, and oat milk. All these products are healthy, easily available, and environmentally viable; hence, they have become a popular choice among the health-conscious and affluent urban population.

Lactose-free yogurt: There are plenty of brands producing lactose-free yogurts with ingredients like soy milk, nut milk, etc. These products are a great source of protein and probiotics and serve as a good substitute for lactose-intolerant people.

Lactose-free cheese: Like all dairy products, the substitute for cheese is also derived from plant-based milk sources like soy, almond, cashew, etc. Many premium brands produce vegan cheese with innovative production methods which create satisfying flavor and taste like real cheese.


Current and Future Trends of the Market

The exponential rise in the adoption of lactose-free products globally has pushed companies to invest in this industry. Apart from health concerns, environmental concerns are also one major motivation factor for many consumers to choose lactose-free products.

According to BIS Research, many firms that offer traditional dairy products also produce lactose-free dairy products, such as Valio Ltd., Arla Foods, Nestle S.A., Lactaid, Dean Foods, Organic Valley, Danone S.A., Nestle S.A., Granarolo Group, and Lactalis Group.

Based on region, Europe holds the largest market share of lactose-free products in terms of value. This is largely due to high awareness and product availability in the region. Apart from this, China and Asia-Pacific Japan regions are anticipated to grow at the fastest CAGR during the forecast period. The value projection of the industry in the forecast period 2020-2025 is $12.09 billion.


Scope of Improvement for the Market and Products

The challenges that the global lactose-free products market face is the taste of the products and the preference of the consumers. Still, a huge part of the global population is consuming traditional dairy products, despite being lactose intolerant.

One of the main reasons behind this is that people fail to notice the symptoms of lactose intolerance, as the symptoms are uncomfortable but not dangerous. This challenge can only be countered by raising more awareness among the population of emerging economies and producing more palatable and affordable lactose-free products.




To conclude, the increasing awareness and adoption of a healthy lifestyle have forced the key market players to shift toward lactose-free products as well as paved the way for new firms to emerge in the market. With certain challenges, the industry is still co-existing with the traditional dairy industry, but it is set for immense growth in the future.

Interested to know more about the growing technologies in your industry vertical? Get the latest market studies and insights from BIS Research. Connect with us at  [email protected] to learn and understand more.


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