Due to physical reasons, most people in China have different levels of digestive tract reactions when drinking milk. As early as the 1980s, some scholars began to study the problem of lactose intolerance in our country and found that the proportion of lactose intolerance in adults in most parts of China is more than 90%. Even in the minority areas in Northwest China, the probability of lactose intolerance was about 80%.
With the continuous reconstruction of China's dairy industry and the gradual upgrading of consumer demand, how to solve the pain point of lactose intolerance consumers with technological innovation, so that the milk market can follow consumer demand?
In recent years, the concept of lactose intolerance has gradually been known by consumers, and consumers'awareness of lactose-free products is also growing slowly.
Generally speaking, infant lactose intolerance refers to "primary lactase deficiency". People with this disease can produce normal lactase at birth and digest about 7% of the lactose in breast milk, but after weaning, lactase gradually decreases to undetectable levels, which can not digest lactose in milk and cause abdominal discomfort. Isogenous digestive tract symptoms and poor nutritional absorption.
Milk is a kind of natural food with rich nutrients, suitable composition ratio, easy digestion and absorption, and high nutritional value. It can provide high-quality protein, calcium, and various nutrients, and the proportion of nutrients is suitable for digestion and absorption, especially for human body. The World Health Organization ranks per capita dairy consumption as one of the main indicators for measuring the living standards of a country's residents. The Chinese Dietary Guidelines also emphasize that “eat a variety of dairy products, equivalent to 300 grams of liquid milk per day”.
To make people "relaxed" to drink milk, many scientists at home and abroad are studying how to eliminate the adverse effects of lactose. Experts suggest that the easiest way to do this is to drink the milk with the same grain, dilute the lactose concentration; drink the milk a small amount multiple times; drink yogurt, eat the fully fermented cheese, etc. But these methods have their shortcomings.
For example, not everyone can afford the expensive price of fermented dairy products, and not everyone has the time and energy to drink milk in small amounts to avoid adverse reactions. The key to improving the milking conditions of our consumers is to start with the milk itself.
Lactose-free milk has therefore emerged. In the past, milk producers used ultrafiltration to remove lactose from milk. The method was cheap and simple, but many nutrients were removed together. Subsequently, the dairy enterprises began to promote low-lactose and lactose-free milk. The specific operation is to break down the macromolecular lactose into glucose or galactose by lactose hydrolysis technology, which has higher nutrient content and better absorption. It not only eliminates the problem of lactose intolerance but also guarantees a good flavor.
Lactose-free milk accounts for a small proportion
Due to the high cost of lactose hydrolysis technology, low-lactose and lactose free milk good for you and are generally sold as high-end products, and they have faced certain challenges in the early stage of promotion. As early as 2007, the first lactose-free milk in China came out. At that time, people's awareness of lactose-free milk was very low. They didn't understand the difference between lactose-free and sugar-free milk. They thought that lactose-free milk is milk, and even lactose-free milk is not milk.
According to statistics, in 2010, the country's lactose-free milk production was 300,000 tons, accounting for only 1% of liquid milk. By 2016, lactose-free milk accounted for 2% of the entire Chinese milk market, and the specific situation of lactose-free milk consumption is not clear.
To understand the general consumer's perception of lactose-free milk and lactose intolerant people accept lactose-free milk, the reporter selected 30 people who did not understand lactase, had a less biomedical background, and people with drinking habits to investigate. The survey found that about 8% of people who can't drink milk at all; 35% who can drink a small amount of milk; those who are lactose intolerant, that is, who can't drink milk easily, are more than 40%. Many of the consumers learned about lactose-free milk through advertising, and 8% still said they had not heard of lactose-free milk.
Although lactose-free milk is a product tailored to the lactose intolerance group, it does not mean that this group of people will start to like to drink milk. According to industry insiders, through market promotion and guided consumption methods, consumers can truly accept “lactose-free, zero-lactose”. Through the recommendation of the authoritative nutrition health science public number and nutrition experts and doctors, consumers find that they should deal with lactose intolerance. the best solution.
Lactose-free concept products have great potential
It can be seen from the figures that the lactose-free milk market is relatively “cold”, but it still has ample market development space in the future. At the same time, high-end is the unstoppable trend of China's current rapid economic development. In addition to yogurt, fresh milk, infant formula, cheese, lactose-free, and other categories have great market potential.
In the search for Tmall search for low lactose, lactose-free, zero-lactose milk, and other keywords, there are related dairy products led by Yili and Mengniu, and the monthly sales volume is good. There are also some regional dairy companies such as ternary, bright, profitable products, and imported products that also occupy the market. These lactose-free dairy products are roughly classified into three types: low fat, full fat, and high calcium. Among them, the high calcium type was the best, and the buyers with “tasteful taste” and “nutrition rich” were mostly commented.
For the innovation of lactose-free products, Yili Group said that it can be considered around nutrition health, brand building, cleaning labels and high-end packaging.
On October 30, 2017, Yilixin Shuhua lactose-free milk was launched. At the technical level, LHT lactose hydrolysis technology decomposes macromolecular lactose into small molecules of glucose or galactose, which makes nutrient refinement better absorbed. In terms of nutrition, the protein content is adjusted to 3.2 grams per 100 ml.
By increasing the protein content of milk, consumers can absorb more and better milk nutrition than before. In terms of packaging, Yili cooperated with Germany and the United States to develop a smiley face to cater to the aesthetics of young consumers. According to public information, since its listing in January 2007, Yili Nutritional Shuhua milk products have sold 470 million units so far, and the market share accounts for 30% of the functional dairy category.
Mengniu and Bright's new generation of lactose-free products is all updated in 2016. Mengniu passed the certification of the International Lactose Intolerance Association (LIGN) in early 2017 and became a zero-lactose certified product. Guangming focused on “fresh” and added the lactose-free milk category in 2016 based on the “Yube” fresh milk series. , launched "Yu 0 lactose" milk. Bright Dairy said that this is also providing more support for the development of diversified market layout and channel sinking.
The data show that the global compound growth rate of lactose-free dairy products in 2015-2020 is about 7% on average. By 2020, the market size will account for 80% of the total zero-lactose food (about 8.8 billion US dollars in sales). The concept of product sales will be hot. At the same time, lactose-free liquid milk is becoming a product in the dairy industry that uses high-tech upgrade technology to improve quality and value. At present, the lactose-free brands launched by many domestic dairy companies are still low-key. For enterprises, this will be an important opportunity to expand the market.
The development of European and American dairy products is relatively mature. In the past, it has been the trend of Europe and the United States, and it has gradually shifted to China. Opportunities for Chinese companies in the European and American markets also lie in high-end categories such as goat milk, organic milk, lactose-free and so on. Then the best strategy for Chinese companies shortly is to acquire the target of the dominant category and try to enter. The category strategy determines not the performance of the company this year or next year, but the performance of the next three, five or even ten years.