US – Chobani, is rolling out a Greek yogurt without sugar as the dairy giant seeks to meet demands of consumers who are more closely watching what they eat and drink.

According to the company, the new Chobani Zero Sugar, is the first nationally distributed product in the U.S. yogurt aisle that has no trace of the popular sugar.

Each serving has 60 calories, uses only natural ingredients, is lactose-free and contains six live and active cultures including probiotics.

The product that is shipping to retailers this month is Chobani’s first direct entry into the more than US$1 billion diet and reduced sugar yogurt category.

“We have very high hopes that it’s going to not just take share, not just premiumize and trade up the consumer, but bring in new consumers who may have walked away from the yogurt set because of sugar,” said Niel Sandfort, chief innovation officer at Chobani.

To create Chobani Zero Sugar, the Greek yogurt maker used milk that’s been filtered to reduce naturally occurring sugar. Chobani then used a natural fermentation methods that allows yogurt cultures to fully consume the remaining sugar.

Monk fruit and allulose were then added to give the yogurt that comes in four flavors: Vanilla, Mixed Berry, Strawberry and Blueberry a sweet taste.

Taste is key in yogurt consumption

Meanwhile, a new study conducted by  the International Food Information Council (IFIC) has revealed that nearly half of consumers (48%) consider taste a top reason for eating yogurt.

IFIC’s survey reveals the functional features and added health benefits alone won’t necessarily win consumers over in the crowded yogurt segment.

Manufacturers can therefore not lose sight of flavor even as they try to combine more trends into their offerings.

Talking of trends, health and wellness as a trend in yogurt is growing with 38% of consumers in the IFIC study saying that they drink yogurt mainly for this reason.

Nutrition value of the yogurt as a key purchasing driver is also gathering momentum, attracting 37% of consumers.

These two trends have stepped up pressure on yogurt makers to reformulate their products and make functional ingredient or health claims a central focus of their branding.

The result is a flurry of both dairy- and plant-based yogurt options with different claims and qualities, aimed at making brands stand apart in the cooler and help revive a flagging category.

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