NZMP, Fonterra’s ingredients business, has developed the low-lactose milk powder so people “around the world” who avoid dairy due to lactose concerns can now consume milk.
The low-lactose sector is one of the fastest-growing sectors across the dairy industry, with strong demand for low-lactose dairy and ice-cream in particular, according to Fonterra.
Lactose intolerance means the body cannot easily digest lactose, a type of natural sugar found in milk and dairy products.
A glass of low-lactose milk is claimed to contain “all the nutrients found in a glass of standard milk”. The lactose is simply broken down into more digestible sugars for those with reduced ability to digest lactose, Fonterra said.
People who identify as lactose intolerant don’t think they can have milk; that means they are missing out on the full package of nutrients that milk provides, Fonterra General Manager (Nutrition) Angela Rowan said.
The main reason people avoid dairy is because they feel bloated after drinking milk. But if you have a problem with lactose, you don’t have to give up dairy to avoid feelings of discomfort.
“Low-lactose milk means you can keep drinking and enjoying milk,” she said.
NZMP low-lactose instant WMP opens up new market opportunities in populations that traditionally avoid lactose, according to Fonterra.
The new product was launched at the 2017 Gulfood exhibition in Dubai, which claims to be the world’s largest annual food event. It attracts more than 90,000 visitors and 5,000 exhibitors.
Global values of low-lactose food topped €5.86 billion in 2015 and are forecast to grow at 6% year-on-year over the 2015 to 2020 period, Fonterra said.
This means that the global value of low-lactose foods is set to reach more than €9.12 billion in 2020, it added.
Fonterra expected low-lactose dairy products to account for 80% of this growth.