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Milk Allergies and the Rise of Non-Cow Dairy

March 2021

Milk allergies continue to be a growing condition among consumers globally. This report analyses key drivers behind the following of dairy-free diets, the opportunities for more easily digestible options, such as sheep and goat milk, as well as how to position plant-based alternatives to win in this space. It also delves into future opportunities in lab-grown dairy, and products and services in the allergy prevention arena.

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Key Findings

Health and digestion represent the main reasons for following dairy-free diets

Food allergies are widespread, and continue to affect a significant number of consumers. Although there are many food types that can trigger allergies, eight major food groups represent the bulk of food allergies, among which milk is included. Allergies are a key reason for following dairy-free diets, with key motivators behind choosing them are health and digestion, as well as it being a medical recommendation.

“Easier to digest” dairy made of goat and sheep milk gains ground

Goat and sheep milks are said to trigger less allergies than cow’s milk, mainly because they contain much less, or no A1 beta-casein, which is one of the milk proteins associated with allergies; instead they mostly contain the more easily digestible A2 beta-casein. Both sheep and goat dairy represent a key pocket of growth in the dairy space, and Asia should remain in the spotlight for developments in these categories.

An “allergy-friendly” positioning in the plant-based alternatives category is a winner

On the plant-based dairy front, there are opportunities to highlight an “allergy-friendly” profile, particularly with ingredients such as gluten-free oats, peas or rice. Highlighting that the products do not contain highly allergenic ingredients such as tree nuts, peanuts or soy could support this positioning. There are also opportunities in the plant-based milk formula space, although they are still very nascent.

Lab-grown dairy on the horizon, and allergy prevention a key area of development

Moving forward, there are opportunities ahead when lab-grown dairy gets to the mass-production stage. It is lactose-free, so it can target lactose-intolerant consumers and others looking to avoid this food component. It remains to be seen what options are feasible to target allergies to milk proteins, as this is currently not possible. Another key area for future focus is products and services around allergy prevention, mainly concerning the early introduction of food allergens to babies.


Key findings

Spotlight on Milk Allergies

Around one quarter of the population suffer from allergies
Consumers who follow a strict dairy-free diet remain a small minority
Digestion and health: key demand drivers for dairy-free diets
Understanding market nuances is key for a successful positioning

Rise of Non-Cow Alternatives

A2 milk and non-cow’s milk to target consumers with milk allergies
France and Spain: bright future ahead in goat milk
Bubs Australia: a success story in goat milk formula
Tailspring: goat milk diversifies into pet food
Sheep-based dairy can follow in the footsteps of goat dairy
Spotlight on plant-based alternatives with non-allergenic ingredients
“No soy” and “no milk” key allergy-friendly claims in plant-based dairy
Lactose and gluten-free claims: key part of Ripple’s positioning in the US
Plant-based baby milk with allergy-friendly ingredients top of the agenda

Future Outlook

Lab-grown dairy: lactose-free but not allergy-friendly
New paths to allergy prevention
Key takeaways


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