Estimated at £1.9 billion in 2013, sales of yogurt have posted solid growth of 17% since 2008. However, this has been driven by price inflation and comes against a marginal decline in volume sales of 1% over the period to 663 million kg. In 2013, Mintel estimates that volume sales will fall by almost 2% year on year, while rising average prices will see value sales edge up by 1% on 2012.
Signalling its maturity, penetration of yogurt stands at 84% in 2013, with these products benefiting from high levels of trust in their health credentials, being seen as guilt-free treats, their affordability and the presence of a number of big-hitting brands (most notably those owned by Müller and Danone). However, while rising prices have seen the value of the market continue to grow, volume sales have been in steady decline since 2010.
The yogurt market has had to cope with the EFSA’s ban of the probiotic health claim which came into effect in December 2012 – a key part of many brands’ preposition. This has had the biggest impact on brands operating in the yogurt drink segment, which has suffered a significant decline in sales.
At the opposite end of the health spectrum, sales of desserts have also been struggling, with volume sales down by 5% between 2008 and 2013, while inflation saw value sales increase by 12%. The chilled desserts segment was the only one to grow in both value and volume terms over the five-year period, reflecting the continued migration towards chilled from ambient and frozen desserts.
Over half of yogurt users (59%) trust the health benefits claimed by yogurt brands, which is beneficial for the market, and trust may have been boosted by the clampdown on claims by EFSA. Yogurt brands could expand their user base with further innovation surrounding health benefits, as 57% of users are interested more products in this area, with scope to target specific groups through individual health benefits, eg heart or bones.
High-protein claims enjoy widespread appeal, resonating particularly with men (47% of men compared to 42% of women), boding well for growth in this emerging segment in the UK. Danone launched high protein Greek yogurt brand Danio in March 2013, Yoplait also launching the high protein Greek yogurt Liberte in the same month. While women are concerned with the sugar and fat content in yogurts, most still want them to feel like a treat, benefiting sales of Greek yogurt, with its thick, creamy texture but low-fat credentials.
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