According to the deep-dive market assessment study conducted by Growth+ Reports, the global infant formula market was pegged at ~US$ 57.21 billion in 2021. The market is expected to witness a CAGR of 9.8% from 2022 to 2030.
The rising number of working women due to economic growth and opportunities in developing countries, high birth rates, and growing prevalence of hormonal disorders such as lactation insufficiency and any underlying diseases in mothers that contraindicate breastfeeding, are driving the global infant formula market. Also, a shift from chemical-based to natural plant-based products has emerged as a trend, hence encouraging key players to manufacture more sustainable products. However, stringent regulatory norms by governments regarding the manufacturing of new products seem to limit the growth of the infant formula market. Also, low acceptance of the modern way of feeding babies and low affordability of these products especially in low-income nations can further restrain the market growth.
Employment of mothers outside the home is negatively influencing the duration of breastfeeding. Workplace barriers such as lack of privacy and sufficient time are add-ons to opting for infant formula feeding. As per the International Law Organization, around 47% of women globally are employed (2022). This percentage is supposed to double in emerging economies looking at the employment policies made by the government, which clearly indicates the growing use of infant formula products by working mothers.
High birth and fertility rates in emerging economies in Asia Pacific and Middle-East have contributed well to the growth of the infant formula market. The higher fertility rate can lead to increased malnutrition and unhygienic conditions in children. The first-born child may be deprived of breastfeeding, leading to extreme weight loss and health conditions like gut infections. Thus, infant formula with prebiotics, probiotics, and thickening agents is
recommended which can improve the number of gut bacteria. Hence, this factor drives the infant formula market.
Increased prevalence of conditions like insufficient lactation or low milk supply due to hormonal issues, insufficient glandular tissue, breast surgeries, and using birth control pills can lead to increased use of infant formula in infants. Sucking difficulties in babies due to conditions such as congenital tongue-tie or cleft lip and cleft palate can deprive the baby off breastfeeding. Thus, increasing the usage of formula milk. Additionally, for mothers suffering from HIV accompanied with other conditions such as pneumonia, tuberculosis , breastfeeding is highly contraindicated, and infant formula is recommended.
Since there is an absence of strict FDA mandates in marketing infant formula, many bigger and small companies are bringing sub-standard products in the market. This refrains the consumers to buy such products. Thus, this is a challenge for the launch of new products in the market. Also, still many communities stick to the traditional way of breastfeeding due to religious beliefs and stigma, hampering the market growth.
Asia Pacific is dominating the infant formula market in terms of revenue share. The market for infant formula is expanding significantly due to factors such as growing urbanization and the demand for quick and easy-to-prepare meals. The rise in disposable income in APAC is consistently increasing, leading mothers to opt ready to consume foods for infants. Due to its expanding infant formula ingredient trading operations, the Chinese market is one of the biggest users of infant formula ingredients. High birth rates in this region are also one of the driving factors for the growth of this market. Additionally, the government of China has decided to abolish the ‘one-child policy’ which in turn, can have a positive impact on the infant formula market.
In addition to this, Middle-east and Africa are also witnessing an increase in demand owing to rise in working women and awareness of the nutritional value and benefits of the product. Furthermore, lifestyle modifications and strengthening economy are positively affecting the market growth in the region.
Some of the prominent players operating in the Infant Formula market are, Nestle S.A., Danone SA, Abbott Laboratories Inc., The Kraft Heinz Company, Royal FrieslandCampina NV, Perrigo Company Plc, Pfizer Inc., Bellamy’s Organic, Meiji Holdings Co. Ltd. and Arla Foods amba among others.