Sector News

Yogurt culture: Convenience and health claims are key to rising sales

August 14, 2019
Food & Drink

The yogurt trend is continuing to rise, with over half of US consumers now regularly buying yogurt, according to a new Innova Market Insights report that examines evolving US consumer habits.

Alongside health, convenience is a key theme, with consumers turning from viewing yogurt as exclusively a breakfast food and toward consuming it as a snack during the day.

The proportion of consumers naming convenience as a significant choice factor in 2018 is more than double the previous year, at 17 percent. Although breakfast is still the number one yogurt consumption occasion, it is losing ground. While consumers increasingly turn to yogurt as a popular snack, there is also a growing dinner niche.

“These shifts highlight the importance of ongoing innovation in this marketplace,” says Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights. “Convenient formats are now important for many consumers, while the rise of dinner usage suggests interest in more indulgent, dessert-style yogurts.”

An example of a dessert-style option is Oikos Oh! Double Cream Yogurt: Salt-Dusted Caramel Crème, which is described as an “indulgent double cream yogurt with 8.5 percent milk fat and a salted caramel flavor with caramel on the bottom.”

The snacking segment in general has been rapidly expanding, with data from the market researcher reporting a 10 percent average annual growth in food and beverage tracked with a “snacking” claim (Global, CAGR 2013-2017). Additionally, research suggests that Millennials are more likely to snack four times a day than any other generation.

Health is key
The notion of yogurt as a healthy food is increasingly accepted as standard. Although the percentage of consumers who cite health as a significant choice factor has dropped in recent years, most yogurts now occupy some form of health platform.

In 2018, 64 percent of all new yogurts made digestive or gut health claims, tapping into increasing consumer awareness of this space. This also applies to non-dairy yogurt-alternatives, with Silk recently expanding its oat-milk products to include a product with active cultures.

Digestive and gut health ranks as the most popular active health positioning in global product launch activity tracked in 2016, according to Innova Market Insights research. It accounted for 28 percent of active health product launches, followed by sports and recovery (20 percent) and energy and alertness (20 percent).

In line with broader trends for sugar reduction, yogurts with low sugar and no added sugar claims increased their share of yogurt launches from just 3 percent in 2014 to 21 percent in 2018. This can be seen in Two Good by Light & Fit Mixed Berry Flavored Greek Yogurt, which is marketed as having “just 2g of sugar and 80 calories per pot thanks to a slow-straining process that removes milk sugar; 35 percent fewer calories and 85 percent less sugar than standard; contains added stevia; also contains 12g of protein and is low in fat.” Additionally, 58 percent of new yogurts are low in fat.

In other yogurt news, Lactalis Group recently acquired Ehrmann Commonwealth Dairy as part of its US growth strategy. Additionally, Chinese dairy companies are booming, with Yili set to overtake Danone in terms of value.

By: Katherine Durrell

Source: Food Ingredients First

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