GlobalData predicts rising health awareness, lactose intolerance to boost plant-based dairy alternative sales in India by 9.5% CAGR over 2022-2027; studies reveal 60%-90% of Indians suffer from lactose intolerance or dairy allergies

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June 28, 2023 (press release) –

Plant-based dairy alternatives remain a relatively niche market in India due to the lack of consumer awareness and the high price per liter of such products. Despite this, India remains a promising market for dairy substitutes, given the burgeoning and economically empowered middle class and increasingly eco-conscious Millennial and Gen Z consumer cohorts. Spurred by the growing health and wellness and ethical consumerism trends and the rising awareness about lactose intolerance and dairy-related allergies, the Indian market for grain, nut, rice, and seed milk alternatives’ value sales will expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.5% over 2022–27*, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Priyanka Jain, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “While dairy milk and derivatives are staples in Indian cuisine and diets, plant-based dairy substitutes are gradually penetrating the market, spurred by international health and wellness and ethical consumerism trends. Lactose intolerance and dairy allergies are the prime reasons for consumers worldwide to switch to plant-based dairy alternatives. And, over the years, several research studies have revealed that 60%­–90% of Indians suffer from lactose intolerance or dairy allergies, with the concentration being higher for some ethnic groups and communities and lower for others. With increasing awareness about the lactose-intolerance, the demand for plant-based dairy alternatives is on the rise, albeit from a low base.”

Francis Gabriel Godad, Consumer Business Development Manager at GlobalData India, notes: “Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated fears of the transmission of viruses, bacteria, and other germs through animal-derived products. This has boosted the appeal of vegetarian, vegan, and flexitarian diets. Also, many Indian parents are worried about serving dairy milk to their wards amid media reports about milk adulteration and the overuse of antibiotics and growth hormones in cattle farms. Furthermore, eco-conscious consumers prefer non-dairy milk products, such as almond milk, cashew milk, and coconut milk, due to their low carbon footprint and cruelty-free attributes. Accordingly, 36% of Indian respondents in GlobalData’s 2023 survey deemed “plant-based” as an essential factor when making purchasing decisions**.”

Jain concludes: “However, the higher price markup on dairy alternatives is warding off low-and-middle-income consumers, especially amid high inflationary pressures. Moreover, consumers are concerned about dairy alternatives being highly processed foods. To overcome consumer resistance, manufacturers are striving to closely match the taste, flavor, and textural qualities of dairy alternatives with traditional dairy products and offer a range of exciting options that can attract flexitarians, not just committed vegans and vegetarians. Manufacturers can also launch public awareness campaigns and encourage consumers to get themselves tested for lactose intolerance and milk allergies. Given the high prevalence of these conditions among Indians, this can be a game changer for the plant-based dairy alternatives market.”

* GlobalData Consumer Intelligence Center ­– Market Analyzers, accessed in June 2023

* *GlobalData Q1 2023 Consumer Survey­ – India, with 591 respondents, published in May 2023

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Dan Rivard
- VP Market Development -

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