Laura Murray, Madrid Office, Bord Bia – The Irish Food Board
The market for lactose-free products in many countries across Europe remains highly under-represented and for many lactose-intolerant consumers, products catering to their dietary needs can still be difficult to come across. The Spanish market, however, is one of the exceptions to this trend as growth in recent years has outperformed all but one other European country.
Lactose-free products in Spain are growing in popularity and demand year-on-year, according to Nielsen data. For example, lactose-free sku’s make up 11% of total milk sales, representing a market value of approximately €190m in this category alone. Over 40 different sku’s of lactose-free milk were found on a recent store visit route across seven major Spanish supermarkets. This growth is likely facilitated by the fact that approximately 34% of the Spanish population are lactose-intolerant.
As Roisin O’Sullivan mentioned in her article back in 2016, over 70% of free-from lactose products can be found across many mainstream hypermarkets and supermarkets, in comparison to about a decade ago when they could only be found in specialist health stores. This is great news for lactose-intolerant consumers who can now enjoy a lot more variety in their diets thanks to small and large brands getting in on the trend. With countless products to choose from, consumers can find lactose-free pizza and on-the-go latte’s, as well as lactose-free condensed milk for their coffee or even lactose-free whipping cream for dessert.
As seen in the images above, the branding and packaging of these type of products in Spanish retail is often represented by the colour purple, making them easy for consumers to spot in-store. The Kaiku brand remains a clear leader in this segment with approximately 30% of the market, something which is very noticeable after a quick walk around almost any Spanish supermarket. Kaiku noticed that consumers are very loyal and after the success and rapid growth of the lactose-free milk category, they realised there would be a strong market in innovating outside of milk and into other dairy categories. Other brands and private labels have also followed suit which is a positive step forward in making grocery shopping much more accessible and easy for consumers of all dietary needs and preferences.