GLOBAL – The global market value of yogurt is set to exceed the US$100 billion mark for the first time as consumers buy more of the drink for its appealing taste and health benefits, a new report by Innova Market Insights has revealed.  

According to the market research firm, Yogurt’s role as a healthy, tasty, and natural part of the diet has seen volume and value sales grow consistently in recent years.   

On average 57% of consumers worldwide regularly buy yogurt, although individual country rates vary from 32% in Indonesia to 78% in Spain.  

Furthermore, 29% of consumers increased their consumption of yogurt in 2020, largely for health reasons, while 60% said their consumption levels were stable and just 11% said that they had decreased. 

Asia emerged as the largest market with 43% of yogurt value sales. It is also seeing the most growth, according to the report.   

The region is home to the top two individual countries in terms of value, with China a clear leader and Japan taking second place ahead of Brazil and the US. 

Non-dairy yogurt rises in popularity 

Non-dairy yogurt has had a considerable impact on the category, with 25% of consumers globally now eating plant-based spoonable yogurt and 22% enjoying plant-based drinking yogurt. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, spoonable non-dairy yogurt is the most active sub-category in terms of innovation, seeing new product launch activity grow by 9.6%. This compares with just 0.2% for the yogurt category as a whole. 

Key themes driving innovation 

Key themes driving innovation are largely the same for both dairy and non-dairy, but each of these is tending to create its own path, the report noted.   

Organic status, sourcing, clean label and provenance, heavily influenced new product development with animal welfare issues and sustainability under the spotlight for non-dairy alternatives. 

Health is a driving factor, particularly added wellbeing attributes such as probiotics, immune support, and digestive benefits.  

Protein and fiber content remains important, along with sugar and fat reduction and free-from formulations, while research also indicates that consumers would be prepared to pay more for added health benefits.  

With 20% of consumers in Innova’s survey being influenced by ‘made with real ingredients’ and ‘natural’ claims when buying yogurt, simple and clear ingredient lists will continue to be an area of focus. 

Directions for New Product Development 

As the yogurt market expands, Innova noted opportunities for new products exist in the sensory arena through the development of new flavor combinations and improved texture/mouthfeel, particularly for low, light, and non-dairy options.  

While fruit flavors dominate global product launches, and more complex confectionery and dessert-style offerings are also increasingly popular, there is growing activity in vegetable flavors.  

This trend is moving beyond Asia where vegetable and savory tastes in traditionally sweeter food categories are already well established.  

Vegetables such as beetroot and carrot are widely used for coloring in yogurt preparations, but they are now being increasingly selected as main flavors along with a raft of more locally and regionally-sourced produce and ingredients.

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