The global lactoferrin market size was valued at USD 87.8 million in 2017 and is expected to witness further growth over the forecast period. Rising demand for infant formula as a result of high birth rate in emerging economies like China and India is expected to remain a principal driving force for the market.
Global lactoferrin market volume, by function, 2014 - 2025 (Tons)
Lactoferrin is a cytokine glycoprotein, which inhibits as well as prevents growth of bacteria, fungi, virus, and parasites. This type of cytokine-ingredient is extracted from the secretary fluids including, milk, tear, and saliva. On a commercial level, the product is manufactured through the utilization of cation exchange membrane absorbers.
Lactoferrin is used in infant formula as a means to imitate human milk. It encourages growth of specific gut bacteria, which promote optimum gut health in infants. High birth rate and rising preference for functional foods to maintain infant health are expected to drive demand for lactoferrin-induced infant formula. This, in turn, is projected to drive the overall market growth over the next eight years.
The global lactoferrin market was oversupplied with lactoferrin in recent past as companies had adopted competitive strategies such as launch of new manufacturing facilities and optimization of production processes. The oversupply led to a drop in prices. However, ease of regulations in regions such as Asia Pacific and North America led to an increase in product demand in the recent past, thereby normalizing the global prices.
The procurement of raw materials is one of the basic steps for lactoferrin manufacturing activities. It includes estimation of product to be manufactured, contents of the product, and consumers to whom it can be catered. The most important raw material required for lactoferrin manufacturing is animal milk usually procured from local cattle breeders.
Numerous in-vitro tests have to be carried out to test effectiveness of lactoferrin when validating the claims made regarding a lactoferrin-induced product. Prior to product launch, human clinical studies are carried out. These tests are expensive and contribute to increasing overall product development cost.
The companies are using results obtained during these tests to attract customers to purchase their offerings. There has been a conflict of interest pertaining to the effectiveness of lactoferrin in treating diseases such as Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection. Confusion regarding efficacy of the product in treating or preventing specific diseases is expected to restrain market growth over the forecast period.
Segmentation by Function
• Iron Absorption
• Intestinal Flora Protection
• Immune Cell Stimulation
Iron absorption function, in terms of volume, accounted for 29.5% of the market share in 2016. The segment is projected to account for 30.0% of total share of the lactoferrin market by 2025. Iron absorption is required in infants to ensure the recommended iron content vital to boost their healthy growth.
Lactoferrin is known to have capabilities of iron absorption, which helps bind the free radicals of iron. This factor is of utmost importance in terms of infant nutrition as their bodies require lactoferrin for healthy growth and systematic bodily functions. Iron absorption and binding also help boost antibacterial and antioxidant activity in infants.
Intestinal flora protection segment is expected to witness fastest CAGR of 8.7% from 2017 to 2025. Lactoferrin exhibits broad spectrum of antibacterial properties. The compound when consumed in sufficient amounts, is found out to aid primary defense activity of the body against bacteria. It binds to lipids which enables it to exhibit bactericidal activity. Such properties have broadened product portfolio of lactoferrin used in antibacterial purposes.
Segmentation by Application
• Food Products
• Infant Formula
• Sports & Functional Food
• Personal Care Products
Lactoferrin is used extensively in infant formula due to its iron binding, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties. The compound is added to infant formula to mimic properties of human milk. Positive outlook towards infant formula industry in countries such as China, India, and Japan on account of new product launches by Danone is expected to have a strong impact.
Sports and functional food segment is projected to expand at a CAGR of 8.0% from 2017 to 2025. Lactoferrin enables efficient transportation of oxygen to blood cells. It also promotes formation of new blood cells. Companies have developed sports products that not only provide the athletes with lactoferrin but also other essential nutrients such as vitamin C. This glycoprotein helps curb iron deficiency thus reducing tiredness and occurrences of anemia.
Segmentation by Region
• North America
• Asia Pacific
• Central & South America
• Middle East & Africa
Asia Pacific emerged dominant, accounting for 34.8% of global market share in 2017. Significant gains in sports nutrition and infant formula industries in key markets including China, Vietnam, and India is expected to remain a key trend in near future.
Europe is projected to exceed USD 40 million by the end of 2025. Rising importance of nutritional enrichment during fortification of product formulation in food and beverage sector of developed economies including Germany and U.K. is projected to have a positive impact on growth over the next eight years.
Key manufacturers in the global lactoferrin market include Glanbia Nutritionals; Fonterra Co-Operative Group Ltd.; Vitalus Nutrition Inc.; Synlait Milk Ltd.; Ingredia SA; and Metagenics. These companies have been adopting numerous strategies including product innovation and establishment of partnerships with distributors to increase their market share along with catering to customized technological requirements for different applications.
Research Support Specialist, USA