Milk and dairy product alternatives optimised for healthy nutrition

By: Budai Klára Date: 2024. 05. 02. 10:50

This article is available for reading in Trade magazin 2024/5

Dóra Szekeres
senior brand manager

“The number of people living with food intolerances is increasing year by year, strengthening the need for sugar-, lactose- and dairy-free or alternative dairy products. Those manufacturers can meet the changing consumer needs that offer a large selection of quality products and cover multiple segments”,

says Dóra Szekeres, senior brand manager of HELL ENERGY Magyarország Kft.

She adds that in 2023 sales in the iced coffee category were down 7.7% in terms of units and dropped 8.5% in volume compared to 2022.


Lots of people are affected by lactose intolerance

Now in its fifth year, the HELL Ice Coffee product range includes two lactose-free products, Salted Caramel and Coconut. As the company strives to offer consumers a wide a range of products, 2024 won’t be without new innovations either. April saw the arrival of the latest flavour in the portfolio, Pink Latte, a product available for a limited time only for the first time in the brand’s history. Lactose-free products are generally characterised by higher average prices, which grew even further in 2023 because of the inflation.

In 2023, penetration of lactose-free products further increased in the two most important dairy categories

Aliz Varga
senior brand manager

“As GfK data shows, the penetration of lactose-free products continued to grow in 2023 in the two most important dairy product categories, milk and cheese”,

informs Aliz Varga, senior brand manager of Bonafarm Zrt.

About 20-30% of the Hungarian population has a minor or major lactase deficiency, which means that 2-3 million Hungarians may be lactose intolerant, explains the senior brand manager.


Traditional and modern trends

In the dairy category, Mizo attaches great importance to offering a choice to everyone, whatever their dietary preferences: be it traditional, low-fat, no added sugar or even lactose-free.

“This is why Mizo lactose-free products are present in 10 categories, in distinctive yellow spotted packaging. This year, we are expanding our lactose-free portfolio with flavoured yogurts, one lactose-free and two lactose- and added sugar free products will be launched under our Immun+ range”,

says Aliz Varga. The market for plant-based foods, especially in the beverage segment, is growing fast not only in Europe but also in Hungary.

Lactose-free products are generally characterized by higher average prices, which rose even higher in 2023 due to inflation


Éva de Gereczné Rudnai
head of procurement
Real Nature

 “This category also includes soya products, which have been undeservedly marginalised in our country, due to the controversies surrounding soya. Soya has many benefits: medical and scientific research has found that Asian countries, where soy consumption is high, have much lower cancer rates”,

points out Éva de Gereczné Rudnai, head of procurement and marketing at Real Nature Kft.

Brands are under pressure to innovate as the number of private label lactose-free products continues to grow

Strengthening private label products

Real Nature Kft. is present in the plant-based lactose-free segment with its Joya, Happy, Natumi and Lunter brands. The Joya and Happy product lines will come out with new products this year, while the Lunter tofu range is also growing at an impressive pace. The company is introducing a number of new Lunter products in its seasonal and permanent product selection.

Katalin Péter
sales and marketing manager

Katalin Péter, sales and marketing manager of Naszálytej Zrt. sees a strong shift towards private label products in the category.

“There is almost no basic lactose-free dairy product that isn’t available under a private label alongside the branded one. Brands have to work hard on innovation all the time and add new products to their own portfolio”,

says the sales and marketing manager.

Naszálytej Zrt. communicates regularly with Magic Milk on social media, offering recipes and interesting content to their followers. //

One way to widen the consumer base is through continuous education


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