Whey dairy poised for huge growth in coming years

By Hal Conick

- Last updated on GMT

The whey market is set to explode in the coming years. Photo: iStock-ogichobanov
The whey market is set to explode in the coming years. Photo: iStock-ogichobanov

Related tags Nutrition

Recent reports showcase the extremely bright future of whey as a dairy ingredient, specifically as a means of consumers staying healthy and active.

Mordor Intelligence LLP released a report revealing that whey was worth $1.8bn in 2014 and is expected to reach $2.7bn by 2020 with increases of 7.3% each year.

Another report, from Research and Markets, said the whey market is slated to grow 5.5% per year from 2014 to 2019, thanks in large part to the expected 40% rise in cancer patients by 2020.

Demand way up

According to Research and Markets, the demand for preventative nutritional products to fight the above-mentioned increase in cancer will play a big role in the rise of whey.

“Whey proteins help in the prevention of cancer,”​ the report said. "Lactoferrin, a protein found in whey proteins, helps in binding iron, reducing the formation of free-radicals and thereby preventing cell damage and reducing the risk of cancer.”

The Mordor Intelligence report said the rising demand for the special benefits of whey, in addition to its nutritional content and ability to increase shelf life, are big reasons why the market is expected to skyrocket over the next few years.

There is now a greater consumer interest than ever in health and wellness. Due to a busy lifestyle and work schedule, consumers are now far more willing to invest in meals that give all the nutrients they need in on-the-go meal, bar and beverage form.

US is dominant due to more athletes

North America has 32% of the whey market share, according to Research and Markets. Much of this may be due to the increased interest in sports nutrition, something Euromonitor said is a $6.7bn industry in the US.

Sports nutrition previously only saw vast interest form bodybuilders and athletes. However, Euromonitor said there are a larger number of athletes, and products catered to the so-called “weekend warrior,” those who take on athletic endeavors as a hobby.

In addition to younger casual users, more middle-aged and elderly consumers are engaged in sports activities including easy exercise like walking,”​ the company said.

Euromonitor pointed to products such as Cytosport, a 100% whey product that held a 12% market share in 2015 with products like Muscle Milk, as the most popular on the market. Analysts at Euromonitor expect the industry to keep at a consistent 9% growth from 2015 to 2020, perhaps showcasing an even bigger window of growth than the other two reports had showcased.

Even with companies such as this growing, Research and Markets cited the fragmented nature of the market as a “major challenge” the industry will face. Prominent companies, such as Cargill, Davisco Foods and Omega Protein, are all competing to win market shares in whey. 

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