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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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