woman eating yogurt at desk with laptop

Yogurt Trends to Watch in 2021

Immune system health is top-of-mind for consumers right now, making yogurt a key product category to watch in 2021. Here’s a look at ways yogurt companies are rising to the occasion and making their probiotic-rich superfoods even more appealing to consumers.

Global Yogurt Market Growing

The global yogurt market continues to show healthy growth, with a forecast CAGR of 6.4% between 2020 and 2025.1 While the largest market for yogurt is Asia Pacific, it also has the second-highest regional forecasted CAGR of 9%, with the Middle East and Africa expected to grow at a forecasted CAGR of 12%. In terms of per capita consumption of spoonable yogurt, Europe is the victor led by the Netherlands, Spain, France, and Germany.2,3 Yogurt provides a number of benefits to consumers including a portable ready-to-eat format, affordability, variety, and healthy nutrition.

The trends in protein snacks and functional snacks are important drivers of growth in the yogurt category, as yogurt is known for both its protein and probiotic content, as well as its calcium. Yogurt’s protein delivers satiety benefits (especially important in a breakfast or snack and for weight management), while its probiotics are linked to healthy digestion and immune system function.

Yogurt Trends for 2021

With more consumers seeking foods and beverages that they perceive as being able to potentially support their health, the future looks bright for the yogurt category. As yogurt companies compete on innovation, some important trends are underway:

1. Lactose-Free

Lactose-free milk was a game-changer for the dairy industry. Addition of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose into sugars, made milk an option for lactose-intolerant consumers everywhere. Now, major US yogurt brands like Yoplait and Activia are using lactase to create 100% lactose-free dairy yogurts. Lactose-free Greek yogurt is the latest addition, available from brands such as Green Valley Creamery and FAGE.

2. Less Sugar

The less sugar trend is showing up across the food and beverage industry, and savvy yogurt companies are getting on board. In Europe, this trend is especially strong with both consumers and government health programs on board. In a recent survey, 1 in 3 German consumers indicated that “low sugar content is one of the most important factors when looking for healthy food.”4

Germany’s Zott My Yogurt (Mein Joghurt) claims no added refined sugar, only natural sweetness and lots of fruit. Examples in the US include Activia Less Sugar & More Good (US) with 9 grams of sugar per serving (40% less than its regular Greek nonfat yogurt) and Siggi’s Kids yogurt pouches with 50% less sugar for 6 grams of sugar. 

yogurt in glass jar with berry

3. New Flavors

Many yogurt companies are using new flavors and flavor combinations to attract consumers. This includes a shift toward more premium flavors—for example, from blueberry to wild blueberry and vanilla to bourbon vanilla—as well as the use of florals and spices to complement fruit flavors, such as mango hibiscus (Two Good Greek Yogurt) and blueberry & cardamom (Activia Less Sugar & More Good). For kids, Yoplait Gushers has blue raspberry and green apple options, while Yoplait Starburst features candy-flavored cherry and orange yogurts.

4. Plant-Based

With major yogurt brands rushing to add dairy-free yogurts to their portfolios, plant-based yogurt has officially gone mainstream. A review of new product launch data from Mintel indicates that plant-based yogurt new product launches increased from 1% in 2014 to 6% in 2020 in the US.5 

In 2020, the first plant-based yogurt, Nong Fu Spring, launched on the Chinese market.6 Examples in the US include Chobani Oat Plant-Based Oat Blend, Activia Dairy-Free Almondmilk Yogurt Alternative, and Yoplait’s Oui Dairy Free Coconut Dairy Alternative. To address the growing interest in plant-based protein snacks, protein-fortified versions are now emerging, such as Siggi’s Plant-Based Coconut Blend with 10 grams of protein from pea protein.
 

natural yogurt in jars with board

5. Drinkable

Consumers also love ready-to-drink protein options. Drinkable yogurts, yogurt smoothies, lassi, and kefir all stand out as better-for-you beverage options for consumers interested in protein plus products, thanks to their functional probiotics. This is especially true for Chinese consumers. According to a 2020 survey of Chinese yogurt consumers, 45% indicate that they prefer a drinking yogurt, compared to 26% that prefer spoonable.7

Newer additions to the drinkable yogurt segment in the US include fiber-fortified Greek yogurt shakes (Chobani Complete Low-Fat Greek Yogurt Shake) and drinkable plant-based yogurts (Califia Probiotic Dairy-Free Yogurt Cultured Nutmilk Drink). In Japan, functional benefits in drinking yogurts are ever more widespread with Morinaga launching an Aloe Yogurt Drink for skin late in 2019.

Supporting Healthy Nutrition for All

Yogurt companies have an important role in keeping consumers healthy and nourished during these challenging times. From our Dairy-based Functional Protein Solutions, like OptiSol®1005 and 1007 dairy proteins offering improved product processing and flavor, enhanced creaminess and texture while supporting clean label initiatives; to our new UltaHi™ Protein Yogurt Technology providing a unique patent pending technology allowing for the ability to obtain over 50 g of protein in yogurt products in a variety of textures and with improved flavor, we have many solutions to help you meet these yogurt trends. Contact us to learn more about how we can make your next yogurt product formulation a success.

Here at Glanbia Nutritionals, we offer the nutritional ingredients you need to support your consumers. Contact us to learn about our wide range of dairy-based and plant-based proteins and our custom premix solutions to add vitamins, minerals, and in-demand functional ingredients to your products.
 

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References

1-2. Euromonitor Passport, retrieved January 2020. 
3. Mintel, A year of innovation in yogurt- 2020, July 2020.
4. Mintel, Yogurt & Yogurt Drinks – Germany, September 2020.
5-7. Mintel, Yogurt- China, November 2020.

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