The popularity of dairy ingredients such as whey continues to rise in the mainstream food market, and they are already well established as key ingredients in the tightly-regulated infant formula sector. However, according to Arla Foods Ingredients, they remain under-used in products aimed at children in the one to three years age bracket.
“As they transition from babies to toddlers, young children enter a new phase in which they leave behind their exclusively milk-based diet,” said Anne Staudt Kvistgaard, senior manager for pediatric at Arla Foods Ingredients.
“They begin to eat a more varied selection of food and drink and develop their own preferences. In addition, due to their limited stomach capacity and high activity levels, toddlers will often get hungry, and naturally they will crave the most tempting foods.”
Appeal of toddler market
According to Euromonitor, the global toddler food and beverage market was worth US$34bn in 2015, making it significantly bigger than the $24.7bn infant formula market. Sales of toddler products are forecast to post a compound annual growth rate of 11.4% between now and 2018 to reach $47bn, indicating the market’s enormous potential.
As the fastest growing segment in the baby food category, parents are seeking out the next set of value-added dairy products once breast milk and formula has been phased out of their child’s diet. The toddler market category also represents a broader marketing platform compared to infant formula as dairy manufacturers can fit into more food categories with specific nutritional benefits, according to Arla Food Ingredients.
Unlike in the infant market segment, where breast milk and formula make up a child’s entire diet, toddlers are able to gradually eat and drink more varied products. This introduces opportunities for dairy manufacturers to make products that appeal to both parents and toddlers.
Goodness of Dairy campaign
Recognizing the potential the toddler market, Arla Food Ingredients started the Goodness of Dairy campaign to highlight how dairy ingredients are key to tapping into the growing consumer demand natural, nutrient-rich food.
Some of the dairy ingredients the company is promoting to manufacturers include Lacprodan whey proteins (amino acids to support development and growth); Lacprodan ALPHA-10 (supporting a healthy gut flora, protecting against intestinal infections); Capolac (an ingredient solution with >24% milk calcium); and Lacprodan PL-20 (a milk protein concentrate rich in phospholipids and gangliosides to support brain development).
“A child’s diet during the sensitive toddler years is a key determinant of their health both in the short and long term. For food and beverage companies, this offers an excellent opportunity to create products that are perfectly balanced for a toddler’s specific needs, and which will appeal to parents,” Kvistgaard said.