Greek yogurt activity accelerates on health qualities

October 18, 2012

Greek yogurt continues to be a key area of activity in the fresh dairy market. Nearly 8% of the total yogurt launches recorded globally by Innova Market Insights in the 12 months ending June 2012, were positioned as Greek or Greek-style options. This was up from less than 2% five years previously, with actual launch numbers rising more than five-fold over that period.

Launches of Greek and Greek-style products made up 29% of U.S. yogurt launches recorded in the 12 months ending June 2012. This compared with more modest but still significant levels of over 15% in Australasia and nearly 10% in Western Europe. Continuing growth for the product has been attributed to its inherent health qualities, combined with its thick and creamy taste.

The market was pioneered by Fage with its Total range, available in many international markets as well as its Greek homeland. But there have been many market entrants as well as rising levels of new product activity. In the United States, for example, the market is now led by Chobani, but it faces strong competition from Greek brands from established yogurt market leaders, including Dannon’s Oikos and General Mill’s Yoplait Greek, as well as Greek options in many existing ranges. Most recently, Yoplait Greek has been extended with the introduction of a fat-free 100-calorie option under the Yoplait Greek 100 name.

Inevitably, the success of Greek yogurts has led to interest moving to other sectors of the market, most notably to frozen yogurt. In the U.S., with its highly developed frozen yogurt market, Greek-style launches have increased markedly over the past few months and have included some well-known brands, including a frozen version of the Stonyfield Oikos organic brand from Dannon, frozen Greek yogurt options from YoCrunch, Greek-style frozen yogurt products from premium ice cream specialist Ben & Jerry’s and, most recently, as part of Yoplait’s first U.S. frozen yogurt range, which includes both Original and Greek-Style options.

Lu Ann Williams, Research Manager at Innova Market Insights, believes that despite rapid growth and increasing maturity, there is still further capacity for development in Greek yogurt internationally. “The healthy yet indulgent image of the products, offers consumers an affordable everyday treat option, with the additional bonus of a healthy, natural image,” said Williams.

Press release (pdf)