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Lifeway Foods to challenge fro-yo with UK Frozen Kefir launch

By Mark Astley+

22-Jul-2013
Last updated the 23-Jul-2013 at 08:58 GMT

US kefir manufacturer Lifeway Foods is hoping to exploit increasing consumer demand for frozen yogurt in the UK with the launch of its probiotic-rich, low-fat, gluten and lactose-free Frozen Kefir range.

According to the Illinois-based firm, its Frozen Kefir range has the consistency of ice cream but with only 90 calories per serving. It also contains 10 probiotics - more than double the amount found in standard yogurt.

The products are available in four flavours – vanilla, raspberry, strawberry and mango – and have so far landed listings in Harvey Nichols, Wholefoods Market, and with Stratford Fine Foods.

A spokesperson for Lifeway told DairyReporter.com that through the launch it has created a new category in the British frozen desserts sector – one capable of challenging the country’s £6m ($9.2m, €7m) frozen yogurt segment.

“The UK has seen strong growth in the frozen yogurt market with consumers who have an interest in healthy treating’,” said the spokesperson.

“UK consumers are increasingly health conscious and demand for foods that deliver additional benefits such as probiotics is also increasing.”

“Whilst we expect Lifeway Frozen Kefir to steal sales from existing frozen yogurt lines, we are excited at the prospect of developing a new frozen dessert segment – Kefir,” said the spokesperson.

“Spring board” to EU roll-out

Lifeway’s Kefir products have proved popular in the US, with sales of its fresh chilled and frozen products topping £65m.

According to the company, Frozen Kefir has been “enthusiastically received” in the US - enjoying double-digit annual sales growth since its launch two years ago.

The recent UK launch represents the “first key overseas territory for Lifeway Kefir.”

Lifeway sees the UK launch of its Frozen Kefir range as the “spring board to brand roll out in Europe.”

“Lifeway’s expansion to the UK also positions the company to pursue additional distribution opportunities in the EU as the global demand for natural foods continues to climb,” the spokesperson added.

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