How brands can expand the maternal milk market in APAC

24-May-2023 - Germany
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The maternal diet exerts a profound influence on fetal development and the overall well-being of the child. milk and milk products are invaluable sources of essential nutrients that contribute significantly to fetal growth. Maternal milk acts as a comprehensive nutritional source, supplying mothers-to-be with the necessary nutrients to sustain the body’s changes and support the baby’s growth and development in the womb.

However, compared to other maternal nutrition products, powdered milk for expectant mums has low user satisfaction and future interest and is not within the opportunity and emerging areas.

In China, among the reasons cited by mums and mums-to-be as to why they don’t like powder milk are difficulty in digesting, inconvenient to mix, poor taste, concern about additives, and the belief that they don’t need to supplement. Some consumers in China said they were worried about taking powder milk for a long time while others weren’t sure if it would work. About 30% said they have tried maternal powder milk but aren’t interested in trying it again while 37% have not tried and aren’t interested.

Offer both nutritional and emotional support to prove their product’s value

Brands of maternal formulas can do this by showing that they care for the emotional wellness of expecting and new mums when they suffer fatigue, stress, appearance changes and difficulties in breastfeeding. In India, mums with kids aged 0-5 have negative emotions more often, and 48% said being emotionally healthy is more important than being physically fit.

Incorporate into the pre/postnatal self-care routine

Another way that brands can increase expectant mums’ interest in powder milk is to incorporate it into the pre/postnatal self-care routine. For instance, the Australian brand The Healthy Mummy Vanilla Flavoured Tummy Smoothie is said to be a gut-friendly and breastfeeding-friendly meal replacement to keep one feeling fuller for longer and support weight loss. They also placed a QR code in the package that mums can scan and this directs them to a website that provides wellness and fitness advice, such as a 7-day meal and exercise plan.

Another brand, Baby Booster (US), claims to have a “holistic approach to prenatal nutrition” and its milk helps soothe morning sickness and nausea.

Yet another brand UpSpring (US) provides breastfeeding support for lactating mums.

Enhance taste with natural and flavourful ingredients

Flavouring can help reverse the image of poor taste and flavour of powder maternal milk. Brands can use a variety of natural and flavourful ingredients to improve the taste of their products while addressing the concern of additives. These ingredients may include fruits, vegetables, nuts, and traditional herbs that can be helpful for pregnancy and postpartum care.

Dairy is an important part of maternal care in APAC, which has a 39% market share of dairy products. North America has an 8% share, South America 7%, Middle East and Africa 5%, and Europe 3%. 

As a highly populated region, it’s also not surprising that APAC leads maternity dairy innovations, with 88% of global launches coming from there.

Powder dairy drinks dominate dairy for maternity in APAC. In China, 81% of mothers with kids aged 0-3 agree that drinking milk powder during pregnancy is essential, and 76% said drinking milk formula during lactation could make breast milk more nutritious. About 70% of mums-to-be and new mums have consumed milk powder for pregnancy or postpartum.

Another way that brands can connect to mums is by expanding the maternal claim to more dairy subcategories like liquid milk, yoghurt, and cheese.

What Mintel thinks

When it comes to milk, expectant mothers are looking for nutrition, taste, and convenience. Brands must convince consumers that maternal dairy products are worth their value. To do this, the brand messaging can include health and wellness benefits that go beyond drinking a glass of milk. Brands can claim product functionalities besides nutritional highlights on the front pack to attract mums-to-be. They can also introduce new flavours to address the concern that maternal powder milk doesn’t taste good. Brands can develop more milk, yoghurt and cheese products that are suitable for expectant mothers.

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