The milk replacers market stood at USD 2.3 billion in the year 2016, and is further estimated to reach USD 2.4 billion in the year 2017. Thereafter, it is projected to grow at a CAGR of 7.6% and reach USD 3.5 billion in the year 2022. The growth of this market primarily is attributed to some key factors:
Rising milk prices, making it economically unfeasible to undertake livestock offspring feeding entirely on mother’s milk.
Increasing awareness of cost-benefit and nutritional aspects of milk replacer products.
Adoption of precision nutrition techniques, which necessitates use of products that can exactly match the nutritional requirement of individual livestock .Concerns about mortality and health-related aspects, arising out of nutritional mismatches in the initial birth stage of livestock offspring.
Dry powder, including milk, whey or whey protein are blended with fat (animal or vegetable) through a process called conglomeration, through which milk replacers were originally made with skim milk powder. This was gradually evolved to utilize whey protein powder. At present, milk replacers are produced using milk-based ingredients, non-milk-based ingredients, and also a blended form of the two.
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Increasing demand from emerging markets
According to the FAO, livestock production in developing countries has a huge market potential because of its role in food production, livelihood support, and environmental change. One of the major drivers for milk replacers in developing countries is the scarcity of feed resources resulting in low productivity and poor growth and reproduction of animals. Other factors affecting the demand is the growth in consumption of milk and livestock products owing to high population growth and growing per capita income.
Intensive livestock production is booming in emerging countries; however, there are still vast areas where extensive livestock production, especially ruminants, is largely supported by grazed pastures. The only way of minimizing grassland degradation while maintaining stock health is to reduce animal density. However, high mortality and inadequate milk production by the nursing mothers affects the growth rate of those who survive. Therefore, economic strategists and government policies encourage livestock farmers to transform the extensive system of production to semi-intensive systems with additional imported feed inputs.
The low productivity in ruminants in developing countries is reflected by high mortality, poor growth rate of young ones, delay in onset of puberty, and long intervals between successive parturition, all of which are largely attributed to poor feed resources, feeding, and management. Furthermore, the rearing of young stock is not given much attention largely due to the economic compulsion to sell milk for human consumption. Therefore, it is important to improve the productivity of ruminant livestock through the promotion of early weaning of young ones. However, this would necessitate additional care in feeding and management as the pre-ruminant young stock depends solely on milk for their nutritional needs during the initial stages of life. Milk replacers offer the opportunity to nourish the offspring for early weaning as well as sell all the saleable milk thus maximizing on farm profits consistently.
Key players such as include Cargill (US), Archer Daniel Midland (US), CHS Inc. (US), Land O’Lakes Inc. (US), and Glanbia Plc (Ireland) have a strong presence in the Americas, followed by the Asia-Pacific region. These companies are focusing on strategizing their growth plans to expand their operations in this market.