WATCH: UAE’s Koita Foods eyes Asia with lactose-free and plant-based dairy products

By Guan Yu Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Uae Dairy Asia plant based

UAE’s Koita Foods is targeting Asia’s large lactose intolerant population with its range of lactose-free and plant-based dairy products there – with Singapore and South Korea its first two targets.

According to the firm’s founder and CEO, Mustafa Koita, it will enter the two nations this August with its lactose-free (dairy) and its plant-based (non-dairy) products, alongside its organic cow’s milk (dairy).

Euromonitor reports that the lactose-free dairy market in Asia-Pacific is expected to grow 8%, double the rate of dairy (4%) between 2018 to 2023.

The lack of lactase is responsible for the inability to absorb lactose (lactose malabsorption), leading to symptoms of lactose intolerance including diarrhoea and bloating.

According to a research published in The Lancet​, lactose malabsorption is widespread in Asia, ranging from 58% in Pakistan to 100% in South Korea. In the Middle East, the prevalence is about 70%.

Market and product expansion

In the UAE, Koita Foods’ shelf-stable dairy products are available on e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and Choithrams, as well as retailers including Carrefour, Spinneys and Union Coop.

The company is planning to launch in South Korea and Singapore through e-commerce first, followed by retail.

Ali Husain who is responsible for sales in Asia said: “E-commerce is a good way to get your products in and create awareness among the consumers. We are looking to expand our footprint from there​.”

The company was established in 2013, and is currently available in 10 countries including the Middle East (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, Afghanistan, Oman), Asia (Vietnam, Philippines) and Mauritius. Besides Asia, Koita Foods is also planning to enter US.

The firm manufactures its products in Italy, one of the largest hit countries during the Covid-19 pandemic which had impacted its supply chain and resulted in some stockouts. However, Koita remains optimistic about the future outlook, as countries were slowly opening up. 

In addition to new markets expansion, the company recently launched new products including an organic coconut beverage and a lactose-free whole fat milk. An almond and oat blend beverage is also in the pipeline.

Watch the video to find out more.

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