In 2020, a new labelling regulation came into force in October, requiring companies to place black octagonal seals on products that have an excess of sugar, calories, sodium, or fat, in order to provide consumers with visible and accurate warnings of products to curb the increasing obesity rate in Mexico. This might become a driver of growth for products that are free-from certain ingredients.
Free from lactose dairy products, which represent the biggest volume of this category, saw important growth as they are perceived as healthy products. In 2020, most consumers of lactose free products were not lactose-intolerant; however, they do seek alleviation from digestive complaints, including bloating and irregular bowel movements, which motivates them to continue choosing free from lactose products.
In 2020, Grupo Lala accounted for the biggest value sales share in free from. The strong performance of this company is explained by its offering of free from lactose products, which include UHT and fresh cow’s milk, and drinking yoghurt.
As consumers face a tough and uncertain economic outlook in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers may shift to regular products, which are often more affordable, impacting category growth over the forecast period. A slowdown in growth is expected over the forecast period to 2025 as foodservice outlets recover post COVID-19 and more people start eating out.
Over the forecast period, free from lactose dairy is expected to remain the most demanded category within free from as companies increase their offering of products. Free from lactose milk, cheese and yoghurt have an important presence.
Although there has been a noticeable increase in the availability of free from gluten products, the offering remains limited to certain food specialists and modern grocery retailers in specific cities and neighbourhoods. Awareness about coeliac disease is still very low, and free from gluten products tend to be priced higher than similar products that consumers can choose as alternatives.
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