More and more lactose-free products, lower prices

Date: 2016. 09. 30. 10:28

Experts say there are about 3 million lactose-sensitive people living in Hungary and every tenth child is affected by this problem. No wonder that demand for lactose-free products has been increasing in the last 3 years. According to Sándor Szentesi, sales director of Sole-Mizo Zrt. if one person is sensitive to lactose in a family, the others also tend to switch to eating lactose-free products. Katalin Péter, sales and marketing manager of Naszálytej Zrt. told our magazine that they keep expanding their Magic Milk portfolio, in order to offer a wide range of lactose-free products to consumers.

Virág Olasz, marketing manager of Szega Camembert Kft. informed us that one of their flagship products is a cheese that isn’t only lactose-free but also has a low sodium and fat content. Sales of the company’s lactose-free products keep increasing by two-digit numbers. White Lake Kft. manufactures plain and flavoured sandwich spreads. Managing director Kornél Temesvári told Trade magazine that sales of their lactose-free products also improved by two-digit numbers recently.

There aren’t many lactose-free products available in the cream market, and there are even fewer in the whipped cream category. Szilvia Cserepes, brand manager of Meggle Hungary Kft. spoke to us about consumers liking 200ml and 500ml product the most. The company’s lactose-free cooking cream has a 10-percent fat content and the whipped cream has 30 percent of fat in it. Sales of milk substitutes keep increasing in the Hungarian market. Bernadett Strasser-Kátai, managing director of Real Nature Kft. told us that not only soy- and rice-based products are available any more, as the segment has started going in the direction of other products of plant origin.

Lactose-free products are a bit more expensive than standard dairy products. Luckily, as the number of buyers kept increasing in the last few years, the prices of lactose free products started to decrease. Mr Szentesi revealed: their experience is that when the price of lactose-free products is more than 15-20 percent higher than those of dairy products, lactose-free sales start to fall. It had a positive effect on the sales of lactose-free products that discount supermarkets have started selling them; this step also contributed to the decrease in their prices. Some retail chains even have their own private label lactose-free product range. Mr Temesvári informed us that the difference in sales during promotional and non-promotional periods is bigger than in the case of dairy products.

The Meggle brand offers lactose-free products in three product groups: milk, cooking cream and whipped cream. Ms Cserpes told that in 2015 they launched the Meggle Lacto-free 200ml whipped cream product and reduced the size of their lactose-free cooking cream from 500ml to 200ml – thanks to the latter move, product sales have doubled. The company’s Meggle Creme Patisserie Decor vegan whipped cream base also appeared in shops last year. 2016 brought the debut of the company’s private label portfolio in the following categories: cottage cheese, curd, cooking cream, whipped cream, coffee cream, milk. A new branded product will be introduced in September.

The history of Naszálytej Zrt.’s lactose-free brand Magic Milk started in the 1990s, with basic products such as milk, sour cream, yogurt and cottage cheese. It was 8 years ago that the company developed cottage cheese desserts under the Magic Milk brand name, and today they also have iced coffee and 4 different types of fruit yogurts in the portfolio. This is the brand that offers the largest selection of lactose-free products in the Hungarian market. The company comes out with a new product practically every year.

Sole-Mizo Zrt.’s strategy is to not only have basic lactose-free products in their portfolio, but also a number of comfort foods. This is the reason why they have developed yogurts with fruit bits, a chocolate drink, sliced cheese and a cottage cheese dessert. They even appeared on store shelves with a family-size sour cream product. The Joya lactose-free product range was introduced to the Hungarian market in 2004. Joya products are soy-based and certified to be GMO-free. Changes are occurring in this segment, though: the market share of soy-based products is shrinking and rice-, oat-, almond- and coconut-based products are slowly but steadily taking over. The company’s so-called ‘joygurts’ are now available in coconut and latte macchiato versions. They also offer Greek-type Joya joygurts, in plain, mango and strawberry flavours.