US: Popularity Of Yogurt Drinks Keeps Growing In Market

US consumers have cultured a love of yogurt drinks, with new research from Mintel revealing that sales of such products have surged between 2011 and 2016.

Mintel found that dollar sales of yogurt drinks jumped up 62% to $893m in the five-year period, while volume sales at MULO (multi-outlet) rose 73% to 407 million pints. Sales of drinkable yogurt are further expected to grow 11% in 2016, making this the second straight year of double-digit gains.

However, Mintel noted that the spoonable yogurt segment continues to account for the majority of sector sales – accounting for 90% of all yogurt and yogurt drink sales. Valued at $8.2bn currently, spoonable yogurt sales are expected to grow steadily to reach $10bn by 2021.

In terms of overall sales, the market for yogurt and yogurt drinks is forecast to grow 3% in 2016 to $9.1bn, with sales expected to reach $11.4bn in 2021.  Mintel found that currently, 66% of US adults purchase spoonable yogurt, while 30% purchase yogurt drinks.

Mintel noted: “While boom times ushered in by the novelty of Greek yogurt are fading, the yogurt category’s draw of convenient health, and the recent expansion of flavours and formats, helps retain interest and preserve participation in the market. Yogurt drinks are becoming increasingly popular among US consumers, and as adoption of the yogurt drinks segment grows, so too does innovation. It’s one of the few food and drink spaces where launch activity sees brand-new products outpacing simple variations on form”.

Yogurt is among America’s top five breakfast items with 45% of US consumers purchasing it, although it trails cereal (65%), fruit (55%), bread (55%) and breakfast meals (48%). In terms of eating occasions, 93% of yogurt/yogurt drink consumers eat it for breakfast, while 93% also consume such products as a morning snack and 84% as an afternoon snack (up from 37% and 41%, respectively, in 2014).

Well-being is a major driver for many US yogurt consumers, with 43% buying yogurt for digestive health, 23% buying it for weight loss, and 37% buying it for calcium needs (rising to 43% for female consumers). However, Mintel research indicates that full-fat options are popular among Millennials as they are the most likely (22%) demographic to purchase whole-fat yogurt/yogurt drinks (compared to 16% overall).