Asia Pacific free from food market is expected to grow with a CAGR of 9.60% during the forecast period (2020 - 2025).
- Asian diets largely vary due to the diverse culture in the region. However, there are many unifying features, such as high consumption of plant foods, like vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, nuts, herbs, and spices that make the cuisines and consumption patterns common across the region.
- In the present scenario, unmonitored diet patterns have resulted in increased diabetes rates throughout Asia-Pacific, especially in countries, like China, India, and Japan. Obesity and overweight rates are soaring, as fast food and sedentary lifestyles replace a life of manual labor fed by rice and vegetables.
- Vast opportunities for free-from food are hence, anticipated to exist in the region as brands are compelled to meet consumer demands for clean, simple, and safe products.
- The cost of free-from product, however, is generally higher than the conventional products and the lower section of the society in the developing countries of the region find it hard to afford the free-from products. The lack of awareness among this population also plays a significant role in hindering the market growth in near future.
Key Market Trends
Increasing Demand for Lactose Free Products Across the Region
Many of the Asian countries have a significant population of lactose-intolerant people which is expected to drive the market for lactose-free products in the region, as the awareness increases, backed up by increasing buying power and product variance in the market. In China, nearly 90% of the population is lactose intolerant. However, there is no significant domestic production of lactose-free dairy products and an ingrained preference for imported products. Nearly 40% of Indians have some kind of lactose malabsorption. High society consumers are generally using dairy substitutes, such as tofu, soy milk, and almond milk. The first lactose-free milk, launched in 2015 was priced premium, which can drive international competition in the nation. Lactose-free infant formula holds the largest market share among the lactose-free products in Japan.
India is the Fastest Growing Market in The Region
The living standards in India are being upgraded with rapid industrialization, urbanization, and improving economic status of the people. As the country continues to develop, the various means of advertisements are spreading awareness regarding the consequences of consuming foods that contain allergens. The Indians are developing a likeness towards natural, organic, and clean-label products, which is likely to surge the demand for free-from foods in the near future. The soy milk and gluten-free products are already in high demand among the health-conscious consumer group in the tier 1 cities, which is inclining towards sustainable foods. Since India has only fulfilled about 10% of its potential for gluten-free food, manufacturers have the opportunity to grab a strong position in the potential market.
The global market giants have been expanding their geographical presence by strengthening their distribution channels in the regional market. Expansion is the most preferred growth strategy followed by new product developments in the regional free-from foods market. The cost of processing plays a major role in countries like India as the raw material is not so readily available and the number of products and manufacturers of free-from foods is quite less as compared to the western countries when considered in terms of the population. Thus, the domestic players have an upper hand opportunity to penetrate into the remote regions and cater to the demand and also, generate the demand by spreading awareness regarding the benefits of free-from foods.
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