Food is the primary source providing the human body with vital nutrients required for healthy functioning. Similarly, infants require food for their healthy growth and development, which is mostly obtained from breast milk. Infant nutrition is a substitute food for breast milk. The initial 6 months after birth plays a very crucial role in development of a child, wherein ensuring optimal nutrition during this period is of paramount importance. Breast milk is highly nutritious containing carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, and vitamins imperative for development of the child. However, in certain cases the mother may not be able to produce breast milk or may not be able breastfeed the baby due to other reasons. In such cases infant nutrition products act as a suitable substitute.

The infant nutrition product market is broadly classified as baby food and infant formula. These segments are similar in application, though have different growth drivers.  Prepared food, dried food and other foods come under the baby food segment, whereas the follow-On milk, specialty baby milk, infant milk and growing milk comes under the infant formula segment. Product innovation is a major factor fueling growth of the baby food segment, while constant endeavor of market players towards enhancing product quality augments growth of the infant formula segment. A recent trend observed in the global infant nutrition market is that of increasing consumer inclination towards organic products. Consumers, especially in developed countries in North America and Europe are willing to pay premium amounts for such products, owing to the general perception of these being more healthy and safe as compared to conventional products.

Infant Nutrition Market Taxonomy:

Global Market by Product Type:

  • Baby Food
  • Infant Formula

Global Market by Formulation:

  • Powder
  • Liquid
  • Ready-to-eat

Global Market by Distribution Channel:

  • Retail Pharmacies
  • Super Markets & General Stores
  • E-commerce

Global Market by Geography

  • North America
  • Europe
  • APAC
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Africa

Growing consumer base and economy of emerging countries would play a major role in the growth of infant nutrition market in the near future:

In the next few years, it is expected that the global infant nutrition market will show healthy growth. In the last few years the sale of infant nutrition products in developed countries has shown single digit growth rate. As the slowly increasing population, low birth rate and due to market saturation. In case of emerging countries, the market has grown by double digit rate due to increasing population and economy of the countries at high rates and increasing awareness about infant nutrition.

China holds the largest market share in APAC region as it has the highest birthrate and the companies are focusing on the sale of premium products in China, considering its growing economy and growing income of the middle class population.

Infant Nutrition Market Dynamics

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the total number of births in the U.S. in 2014 was 3,988,076. The birth rate was 12.5 per 1000 people in the region. Moreover, the general fertility increased to 62.9% per 1000 women in the age group of 15 to 44. This rise in fertility is an indicator of the increased birth rate. Owing to the above mentioned reasons, the global infant nutrition market is estimated to grow at a considerable rate over the forecast period.

According to the worldstat.org, the birth rate in Asia was 17.56 in 2011. The birth rate of boys was more than the birth rate of girls in this region. The population of Asia has risen from 4.16 billion in 2010 to 4.43 billion in 2016, which is an increase of around 266 million. This rise in the number of births along with the rise in disposable income and per capita spending on baby care have made the infant nutrition market in this region, a promising one. A new trend observed in the market is that of increasing consumer inclination towards organic infant nutrition products.

Key Takeaways of the market –

  • Marketing strategies adopted by infant nutrition product manufacturers to spread awareness regarding importance of feeding baby food and infant formulas is driving growth of the market. For instance, in 2017, Nestlé Indonesia launched 'Start Healthy, Stay Healthy' program to provide knowledge and skills to help consumers make right choices regarding food and nutrition, during pregnancy and the first two years of child’s life.
  • According to International Labor Organization’s report on Women at Work- Trends 2016, the share of women in wage and salaried work more than doubled, from 26.3% in 1995 to 55.3% in 2015. Rising population of working mothers is significantly increasing adoption of infant formulas for their babies, which is positively contributing towards growth of this market.
  • Product innovation supported by technological development is creating opportunities in infant nutrition market. For instance, in infant milk formula manufacturing, advanced spray drying technique is adopted in order to obtain high product quality and to reduce power consumption.
  • Probiotic plays an important role in infant formula products. Probiotics are organisms that enrich the beneficial microbes in the human stomach for proper functioning of the body metabolism and hence are considered as a vital ingredient in the infant formula market. Thus, probiotics serve as a major area of growth opportunity across the market.

Competitive Landscape

Stringent regulatory scenario, creates high entry barrier for new entrants in the market. As per the data of China Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA), after implementation of quality and safety standards in 2013, out of over 800 foreign brands selling their product of infant formula, only 94 have received approval to sell their products in China and only two-thirds of the local Chinese have received production permit renewals, who has their infant formula products.

Some major players in this market include Nestle, Mead Johnson Nutrition, Bledina, DANONE, Meiji Holdings Co. Ltd, Abbott Nutrition, The Kraft Heinz Company, FrieslandCampina, and Beingmate Baby & Child Food Co. Ltd.

The Mead Johnson Nutrition and Abbott Nutrition holds the largest market share with their Enfamil and Similac brands.

In 2012, Nestle bought Pfizer’s baby food division for US$11.9 billion. This acquisition helped Nestle to expand its reach into emerging markets, as Pfizer had large market share in countries such as India and China.

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