US and Asia ‘leading’ yogurt category into new flavour areas

The yogurt category is rapidly diversifying into a range of new salty and spicy flavour segments, with the US and Asia driving innovation, according to a new report from food and drinks consultancy Zenith Global.

According to the research, the two key regions are ‘drawing inspiration from international cultures and cuisines to help consumers [who are] seeking healthier lifestyles’.

The finding is borne out by today’s announcement of new products from General Mills, which has introduced new types of yogurt that are either higher in protein content, made with whole milk, or come with savoury dippers such as chocolate pretzels and cinnamon crisps.

The American food company has also brought back its custard yogurt after a ten-year hiatus, available in flavours including banana, lemon and caramel.

Of the 22 new products launched by General Mills, more than a quarter were for markets outside the US – most notably Canada and China – while all but two were destined for countries in either North America or Asia.

But most notably, companies are incorporating vegetables into yogurt for new savoury options, with Arla Big Yogs and Yummia both offering versions of their own.

Dairy companies have broadened the appeal of savoury yogurts by promoting them for multiple uses,” said Zenith Global market intelligence director Esther Renfrew. “Savoury options in supermarket chiller cabinets offer great versatility as snacks, dips, salad dressing and cooking ingredients. They offer a point of difference to excite the taste buds without excessive calories.”

With a broad positioning that appeals to adults, millennials and children – as well as a growing variety of flavour combinations – the category has been successful at attracting new customers as well as building loyal converts, Zenith added.

Renfrew continued: “As health concerns widen, savoury yogurt has strong potential for continued growth and new product development in 2017.”