Global lactose intolerance

Approximately 70% of the world’s population experiences some degree of lactose intolerance. Naturally, this has led to some countries embracing a strong milk-drinking culture, while others have avoided dairy as much as possible.

Now, that’s all starting to change, and that means big opportunities for the dairy industry.

Explore the map to learn more about lactose intolerance on a region-by-region level.

worldmap_01.9.3 simplified

14-87% lactose intolerant

69-84% lactose intolerant

14% lactose intolerant

68% lactose intolerant

90% lactose intolerant

90% lactose intolerant

Select a region

North America

North America paragraphs
  • Lactose intolerance varies widely in the U.S. Just 14% of Caucasians have the condition, while 74% of African Americans and 87% of Native Americans are afflicted
  • The largest market for lactose-free food, accounting for 29% of global sales in 2015

Middle East

Middle East paragraphs
  • Morocco’s low-lactose and lactose-free dairy market has a projected:
CAGR over 2016-2021

Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia paragraphs
  • Southeast Asian countries have very high rates of lactose intolerance, while Australia, in general, has very low rates

  • The Asia-Pacific region functional food market has a 9% CAGR projected between 2016 and 2020 and a value of $97 billion as of 2016


China paragraphs
  • Despite the near-universal prevalence of lactose intolerance in China, it is currently a relatively untapped market

  • Annual consumption of liquid milk rose from 8.8 liters per capita in 2009 to 17.8 liters in 2014

  • Research shows that 56% of Chinese consumers were willing to pay 10-50% extra for lactose-free dairy