The increasing urbanization level and lack of refrigeration space are the key growth drivers for the global UHT milk market. The shifting consumer trends towards milk consumption and school milk programs in certain countries are laying growth opportunities for the market during the forecast period. The economic slowdown in Europe has been a major setback for the market in the region. However with the recovering economy, the consumer confidence is being reinstated, which is also expected to improve the market conditions for manufacturers in the region. The large unorganized milk market in the developing countries and consumer concern for less nutritional value of UHT milk are the key restraints for the growth of the market. China was the major market globally in 2014, and its share is further expected to increase during the forecast period, owing to the increasing urbanization and growing apartment culture in the country.
The UHT milk containing 3.5%, 1.5%, and 0.1% fat is considered as whole, semi-skimmed, and skimmed respectively. Toddlers less than 2 years of age are one of the ideal consumers for whole UHT milk, as the whole UHT form of milk contains essential nutrients for providing growth to their body parts. The whole segment dominated among the segments in 2014, both in terms of value and volume. Among regions, Asia-Pacific dominated the global market in 2014 in terms of value; whereas in terms of volume, the market was led by Europe. However, Asia-Pacific is expected to become the largest market by 2020. Among the distribution channels, supermarkets and hypermarkets dominated the global sales in 2014.
Refrigeration is essential for food products that have higher propensity of bacterial development. Raw milk requires continuous refrigeration, till its consumption. The high cost of refrigeration, along with long power cuts in developing countries has encouraged customers to use food products that can sustain without refrigeration. UHT milk can be stored without refrigeration for 6 – 9 months. Moreover, the underdeveloped cold storage infrastructure in the developing countries also increases the importance of UHT milk.
With the increasing urbanization, the adoption of several trends related to lifestyle and well-being are in practice within the developing countries of Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Africa. The growing apartment culture in countries, such as China and India is influencing the consumers to use products with larger shelf life. UHT milk accounts for approximately 60% share of the total milk consumption in China. With the fast pace of population growth in China, the UHT milk market of the region is also being propelled. The market in certain developed countries of Asia-Pacific is also increasing. The consumption of UHT milk in Australia is growing, which was only 10% in 2012.
The consumers’ concern about less nutritional composition of UHT milk is one of the biggest restraints for the market growth. The processing of UHT milk requires ultra-high temperature (greater than 161 degrees Fahrenheit) that causes denaturation of whey protein in milk. Certain percentage of other important nutrition, such as riboflavin and thiamine is also lost during the processing and storage of UHT milk.
The major companies operating in the global market include Nestle SA, Groupe Lactalis S.A., Fonterra Co-Operative Group Limited, Danone Limited, Grupo Lala, S.A.B. de CV, Sodiaal Group, Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co. Ltd., China Mengniu Dairy Company Limited, Devondale Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co. Limited.