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Chinese choose Western appeal over lactose intolerance to boost dairy market

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Chinese choose Western appeal over lactose intolerance to boost dairy market
China's US$50bn dairy market should see continuing strong growth until at least 2021, making it a key target for local and global producers.

The average 10.5% annual growth rate of the last five years is expected to increase alongside higher middle-class consumption, according to a study by Research and Markets. 

Usually living in cities and developing a taste for Western foods, the growing Chinese middle-class is likely to see dairy as a health segment and a good source of nutrition. 

However, tempering this growth somewhat is widespread intolerance to dairy: a significant portion of the population is lactose-intolerant and experiences adverse health effects from dairy products. 

This could prompt a growing preference for non-dairy products like soy milk at some point, but for now Chinese consumers will still continue to increase their milk consumption as the middle-class expands, the research found.        

Though it is one of the smaller markets in the global dairy sector, in terms of per-capita expenditure, China’s rapid economic development bodes well for consumer goods producers, and especially ones which produce products associated with the West that carry premium branding, the study concluded.

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