Stirring times for US yoghurt

Innovation is vital in a changing consumer environment

More than half of all US consumers now buy yoghurt as part of their typical grocery basket, according to a new report from Innova Market Insights, but their habits appear to be evolving.

Convenience themes are becoming increasingly important, for example, with 17% of consumers naming this as a significant choice factor in 2018, which is more than twice as many as in the previous year.

This can be explained by a shift in eating occasions, as evidenced by recent data. Breakfast is still the number one occasion for yogurt consumption, but it has lost ground during the past few years. Now, an increasing number of consumers are turning to yoghurt as a convenient snack, while dinner is a growing niche.

"These shifts highlight the importance of ongoing innovation in this marketplace," said 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."

Health remains another ever-present theme within yoghurt development. The percentage of consumers who cite health as a significant choice factor has dropped in recent years, but most yoghurts now occupy at least some kind of health platform so healthiness is increasingly accepted as standard.

In 2018, 64% of all new yoghurts made digestive or gut health claims, whereas 58% were low in fat, for example. There is evolution here too though, with a growing focus on sugar reduction in recent years: low sugar and no added sugar claims increased their share of yogurt launches from just 3% in 2014 to 21% in 2018.

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