Seven Facts About the Latin American Infant Formula Market


1. High growth has been forecast
The total market for infant formula in Latin America is currently $2.2 billion (150,000 metric tonnes in volume) and significant growth is forecast for the next four years. The region is promising territory for some of the world’s biggest formula companies.

2. Mexico has the highest formula sales in the continent
Mexico is one of the most important markets in Latin America. The country’s population and GDP are both little more than half the size of Brazil’s, but sales of formula there are higher than anywhere else. In 2017, the retail value of infant formula was $843 million, and that figure is expected to increase to over $1 billion by 2021.

3. Mexico’s special formula segment is larger than average
The composition of the Mexican market is also different from the rest of Latin America. The special baby milk formula segment is much larger than both the Latin American average and the global average. In 2017 it accounted for 22% of retail value (similar to the US) and by 2022, that figure is projected to rise to 28%.

4. Sign of Premiumisation in Colombia
Colombia has the highest average price of formula in Latin America (around $20 per kg, compared to $17 in Mexico, and just $8 in Argentina) suggesting the existence of a premium market.


5. More women are entering the workforce
There has been an increase in numbers of women entering the Latin American workforce. In 1990, only 44% of women in the region were part of the labour force. By 2014, that figure had risen to 54% ― similar to levels seen in the
US and emerging markets in Asia.

These gains in female participation in the labour force are larger than in any other region since 1990. And for these women to be able to make the best choices about how they feed their babies, it is important that they have access to high quality infant formula.

6. The middle class is expanding
Between 2001 and 2014, Colombia’s middle class more than doubled, increasing as a share of the population from 11.3% to 29.6%. The Mexican middle class also grew rapidly over this period – in 2015 it totalled 14.6 million households – 47% of all the households in the country.

7. There is increasing emphasis on quality
The growth of an educated middle class will mean a greater emphasis on not just quality, but also nutritional value. Most importantly women who choose to feed their babies with formula ― even if it is just partially ― will increasingly demand products that come as close as possible to providing the benefits of mother’s milk.

At Advanced Lipids, we offer manufacturers a way to meet that need. sn2 palmitate, or OPO, is a premium quality fat ingredient that mimics the fatty acid structure of human milk.

INFAT®, our sn2 palmitate product, is clinically tested in multiple double-blind, randomised control studies. Results from the clinical study show that infants fed with formula containing sn2 palmitate have softer stools, better fat and calcium absorption, better bone matrix parameters, healthier gut bacteria, less crying and longer sleep duration than those fed on standard formula. In other words, manufacturers who choose to add INFAT® to their formula can offer products that deliver many of the benefits of human milk.

In Latin America, as in other global markets, the most successful formula manufacturers will be those who best adapt to growing demand for quality, and come as close as possible to offering the benefits of breast milk.


1. Novta, N et al. ‘Women at Work: Remarkable Achievement in Latin America and the Caribbean’ International Monetary Fund, September 15, 2016

2. Oxford Business Group ‘An expanding middle class in Colombia drives demand and consumption’, Accessed, March 26 2018

3. Euromonitor, ‘Mexico: It’s all about the middle class’, October 12, 2015 ‘

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