Health and taste are key when it comes to yogurt trends. Companies are increasingly focusing on indulgence to deliver a tasty treat to consumers and promote the health benefits of yogurt, such as high protein and calcium. The yogurt and dairy alternative yogurt category unveils a landscape of trends and opportunities.
Yogurt and Non-Dairy Yogurt Consumption Drivers
Globally, yogurt consumers say that health and taste are the main reasons for consuming dairy and dairy alternative yogurt. The likelihood of these reasons is greater for dairy yogurt, for which 51% of consumers eat it for its health benefits and 50% for its taste. For non-dairy yogurt consumers, these percentages are 42% and 39%, respectively.
Claims Influencing Purchasing Behavior
Claims shaping current yogurt trends are clean label and health claims, influencing consumers worldwide, with 1 in 4 dairy yogurt consumers and 1 in 5 non-dairy yogurt consumers claiming to be influenced by labels promising ‘made with real ingredients’ and natural ingredients. However, when asked which product attributes most influence consumers’ purchasing decisions when buying yogurt and dairy alternative yogurt, taste and flavor are the most likely factors that influence consumers’ purchasing decisions. Cost is the second-largest influence when buying both types of yogurt. Cost looks to be the biggest influence in Latin America, most noticeably in Argentina and Chile, where it ranks higher than taste and flavor.
Emerging and Influential Claims
An interesting category development shaping yogurt trends is the influence claims are having on purchasing behavior, specifically clean label and health claims. Sugar-related claims are the most influential health claim across both types of yogurts. Sugar-related claims even rank above protein and fat. Globally, growth is strongest in ethical and sugar-related claims, with yogurt brands increasingly focusing on these claims. Sugar-free claims in yogurt and dairy alternative yogurt have grown at +17% and +29% CAGR (Q3 2018 – Q3 2023). Health claims vary widely worldwide. For example, probiotics are over-indexed in North America but under-indexed in Europe.
Biggest Yogurt Consumers per Market
Dairy yogurt is frequently eaten across most markets worldwide, with West Europeans being one of the most likely regions to consume dairy yogurt daily, averaging 20% of respondents. As for Asia, where generally low levels of yogurt are consumed, India and Vietnam seem to be the exception. Consumers in these countries average the daily. On average, global yogurt consumption per capita was 11.9kg in 2022. While Israelis consume the highest amount of yogurt globally (36kg), Europeans are generally the largest consumers, led by Switzerland at 32kg.
Flavor Trends in the Yogurt Category
The four most common flavored yogurt trends for dairy and dairy alternative yogurt in the five major global regions are strawberry, vanilla, peach, and blueberry flavored yogurt. Fruit flavors are the most popular flavor trend across all regions, but the order and influence of these common popular flavor trends vary. For example, strawberry is the number one flavor for each region when focusing on red fruit flavor trends. Still, if we look at red raspberry, it has the biggest influence in West Europe and nearly no influence in Latin America, where red berry holds a bigger influence. Another interesting variation is that cherry holds the fifth position for North America’s most popular flavor trend but falls outside of the top ten in the other global regions. Overall, fruit flavors are the most popular across all regions, but watch for new flavor trends, such as indulgent and textured flavors.
Unflavored Yogurt Biggest in NPD
Dairy-alternative and dairy yogurt trends say that flavor is important in the yogurt category, and another trend shows that unflavored yogurt does represent a significant proportion of NPD. In the 12 months ending Q3 2023, 1 in 4 yogurts launched globally were unflavored. Penetration is highest in the Middle East (57%) and lowest in North America (14%).
Consumers Reveal Growth Opportunities
Health claims are also popular in the category. Companies are adding ingredients to make yogurts even healthier. When asked which offered health and wellness functions are most desirable, most consumers responded that products claiming immunity-boosting against viruses and colds as well as detoxifying properties are most desirable, even claiming that desirability outweighs purchase levels. Gut health remains popular, and there is increased interest in immune health claims.
Companies are likely to adjust their focus areas to make dairy alternative yogurt more appealing to consumers and dairy yogurt consumers. Many plant-based yogurts do not have the same protein content as dairy yogurts due to the use of low-protein plant ingredients. While a high proportion of non-dairy yogurts globally make a protein claim (35%), the protein content is not as high as dairy yogurt, revealing a window of opportunity for yogurt companies. Expect to see the next generation of dairy alternative yogurt come through greater use of precision fermentation—a method in which engineered microorganisms produce bio-identical proteins to animal milk.
This article is based on our report, “Future Horizons of Spoonable Dairy & Non-Dairy Yogurt: A Global Perspective.”
If you are interested in receiving this report, feel free to request a demo through our Contact Form.