Oriol Sans of ADILAC shares his insights on the well-known but limitedly catered to intolerance of lactose. Approximately 65 percent of the population is lactose intolerant, and although the supply in dairy alternatives is growing, there is still a lot to be gained. More transparency and healthy substitutes are just some of the desires of this group.
What is the main purpose and main activity of ADILAC?
Adilac was born in 2003 with four objectives. For the lactose intolerants, to become the main communication channel for this group at a national and international level. For the food companies, to achieve maximum sensitivity in the clear labeling of their products. For the society, to promote knowledge of our food intolerance. And for the administration, to obtain recognition of our intolerance.
What kind of trends are you noticing in the demand for Lactose Free products from consumers?
In the last ten years the lactose intolerant has seen how the market has gone from having an almost non-existent offer of lactose-free dairy products to having an increasingly varied offer of this type of specific products such as milk, yogurt, cheese, cream, butter , etc. Today, this first phase focused on supply, is overcome, and the trend focuses on two main lines. First, the need to increase supply in other sectors -no dairy- where there is not yet a great variety of alternative products, such pastry and pastries. And the second trend is the growing concern for healthy products. It is no longer enough to find lactose-free products on the market if they are rich in saturated fats and added sugars at the same time. Lactose intolerant wants to find products that are lactose-free and also that are healthy. We are in front of a consumer -and a consumer of lactose-free products too- increasingly informed and smart.
What kind of trends are you noticing in the supply of Lactose Free products and solutions?
There is a growing trend to include the lactose-free benefit as a health benefit, and integrate it into the restorative benefits of healthy products like: sugar-free, gluten-free, fat-free, lactose-free products, etc. This means that lactose-free products have become a consumer product not only for lactose intolerant people but also for other types of publics that are looking for healthy products. This indirectly benefits us because food companies expand their business possibilities towards more possible consumers, but also stops us from making ourselves visible in the market as people who really have a health problem with lactose.
What kind of challenges are most common striving for a lactose free diet?
We can say that throughout Europe the main challenge is at the time of purchase. When a lactose intolerant is buying in the supermarket, they have difficulties clearly identifying which products can be consumed with tranquility and safety. Food manufacturers don’t have an interest in our intolerance when designing the packs and not include or highlight differentiated attributes of their product, such as lactose-free product. And when we are in a restaurant the subject is even worse, so that very few establishments are prepared to inform their clients with guarantees.
How do you feel the industry can benefit but also contribute to the lactose free market?
It’s very easy in my opinion. Bearing in mind that a clear labeling that identifies the product as lactose free, it will be helping a group that demands a quick identification, and at the same time the company will arrive more easily on a commercial level. In this sense, Adilac offers to the food companies the use of the no-lactose recommendation logo. An instrument that clearly identifies those products that can be consumed with ease by lactose intolerants and which is currently already used in various countries of the world such as Spain, France, Portugal, Peru or China.
What myths about lactose free have you encountered?
Some myths that we have dedicated to refute are:
-Lactose-free dairy products are nutritionally poorer than normal dairy products.
-The addition of lactase enzyme in the manufacture of lactose-free dairy products could cause some type of allergic reactions or that its use is simply not good for your health.