Infant Formula – Is It an Alternative to Breast Milk?

infant formula market

Infant formula is often considered as a substitute for breast milk. These formulas majorly consist of all the necessary nutrients that are essential for the growth of babies such as fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins among others. These are generally fed to infants under twelve months of age for their necessary development  

Infant Formula Market, Forecasts From 2019-2025, in US$ Billion

infant formula market

Source: Knowledge Sourcing Intelligence Estimates

The figure above represents the size of the infant formula market which shows that the market reached US$60.874 billion by the year 2025 from US$44.077 in the year 2019. The market is expected to witness a decent growth over the course of the next five years primarily due to the significant growth in the working female population in both developed and developing economies of the world Furthermore, improved living standards in both developing and underdeveloped countries couped with lifestyle changes of people has resulted in the escalating demand for the convenience-oriented lifestyle which in turn has further boosted the demand for infant formula in place of the breast milk as it serves as a good alternative for it. Furthermore, the market is also poised to grow on account of the growing concerns of the parents towards the health and nutrition of their toddlers. Also, the growing number of women with lactation problems is also a key factor bolstering the adoption of infant formula throughout the globe during the next five years.

Moreover, the constant participation of the key market players in the form of investments in the R&D for the development and launch of new formulas with enhanced nutritional values further increase the growth potential of the global infant formula market in the coming years. However, the market is expected to be restrained by the fact that there is still a high proportion of females in many countries that still prefer to exclusively breastfeed their babies, either due to its nutritional benefits or due to lower purchasing power to buy expensive products. Also, a significant drop in the birth rates in some countries for population control is also expected too negatively impact the infant formula market growth to some extent during the forecast period. The recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease is expected to widen up the opportunities for the market players over the short period of the next six to eight months. Factors such as growing concerns regarding the health of babies for boosting their immunity systems coupled with the situation of panic buying in many countries are further expected to boost the sale of several necessity commodities especially proteins and supplements, which is further providing an impetus for the market to grow in the short run. Also, the growing acceptance of plant-based food and beverages is also a key factor that is motivating the market players to launch plant-based products to tap the growing vegan population around the globe.

Preference for breast milk

The high preference towards breastfeeding in some countries of the world is anticipated to be one of the major factors which are anticipated to inhibit the demand to some extent. Factors such as lower purchasing power of some people coupled with the growing concerns among the parents regarding proper health of babies is further forcing them to prefer breastfed milk rather than opting for artificial formulas. Furthermore, the governments across several economies are taking various initiatives and programs to educate the mothers about breastfeeding their kids at least till the age of six months is further expected to hamper the adoption of infant formulas, thereby acting as a restraining factor for the market in the next five years. The American Academy of Pediatrics further recommends that infants should be exclusively fed with breast milk for the first six months then further it should be continued with complementary foods as well.

Percent of Infants 0-5 Months of Age Exclusively Breastfed, by Region, 2019

infant formula market

Source: UNICEF

Participation of Market Players
The key players operating in the market are also playing a significant role in shaping up the market growth throughout the forecast period. Players are actively participating in the form of research and developments, partnerships, facility expansions, and mergers and acquisitions with an aim to gain a competitive edge over other players further show the potential for the market to grow in the next five years. For instance, recently in June 2020, Biostime, a globally leading company that offers a vast variety of infant nutrition products announced the launch of a range of products that were aimed towards high growth of mothers and their babies that included probiotics, calcium and vitamin D, DHA and ARA, and organic infant formula. Similarly, in February 2020, Else Nutrition Holdings, a leading player of clean ingredients and plant-based nutrition products announced the launch of its new plant-based toddler formula throughout the United States. This new organic infant formula is made with a proprietary formulation of tapioca, almonds, and buckwheat. Also, in September 2019, Danone announced its plans to develop a sheep milk-based infant formula. 
Segment Overview:
The global infant formula market has been classified by formula type, form, distribution channel, and geography. On the basis of formula type, the segmentation of the market has been done on the basis of cow’s milk protein-based, soy-based, and protein hydrolysate. On the basis of form, the classification of the market has been done as powdered, concentrated liquid, and ready-to-use. On the basis of the distribution channel, the global infant formula market has been bifurcated as online and offline. Geographically, the segmentation of the global infant formula market has been done as North America, South America, Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Asia Pacific. 
Apac to Hold a Considerable Market Share
Regionally, the Asia Pacific region is expected to hold a decent share in the market throughout the forecast period. The presence of a considerably larger population base coupled with high-birth rates along with the growing disposable income in countries like India and China are some of the key factors bolstering the market growth in the Asia Pacific region over the next five years.