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Greek yogurt and ‘better-for-you’ products set to drive 2012 US dairy sales

By Mark Astley , 15-May-2012
Last updated on 15-May-2012 at 16:52 GMT2012-05-15T16:52:48Z

The ever-growing popularity of ‘better-for-you’ organic and functional food is set to drive US dairy sector sales in 2012, according to an industry trends report.

Increasing consumer demand for dairy products with natural nutritional properties, functional additives and sustainably produced products is set to drive sales in the dairy industry in 2012, with Greek yogurt products set to lead the drive.

The What’s in Store 2012 report, which is published annually by the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA), pinpointed a continued US consumer focus on health, sustainability, and food safety – with milk and yogurt products topping the list of dairy products purchased for their added nutritional benefits.

The report also highlighted demand for speciality, probiotic and low-fat cheeses and enhanced milk products.

Two big trends

“We’re seeing two big trends in the dairy case in the United States. First, Greek-style yogurt is continuing its significant popularity and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down,” IDDBA’s Alan Hiebert told DairyReporter.com.

Citing American demand for healthier products, the report pinpointed Greek yogurt as a driving force in the increasingly important organic dairy sector, which was sales increase by 9% in 2010 to $3.9bn.

Driven, in part, by the popularity of Greek yogurt, organic yogurt sales grew by 8.5% in 2010 to just over $1bn.

Spurred in part by this demand for organic and functional products, Greek yogurt brands are expected to continue to demonstrate “impressive growth,” the report added.

The US yogurt sector has continued to demonstrate strong growth of 7% on the back of organic product demand, with sales hitting $5.2bn in the year up to 14 May 2011.

‘Better-for-you’

“Second, functional and better-for-you products are continuing their popularity,” said Hiebert.

According to the report, dairy products are taking on a wider array of functions – meeting consumers demand for additional benefits such as antioxidants, calcium, probiotics and whey protein.

Enhanced milk, which offers a range of options including vitamin and fibre fortification, has also been identified as an area of growth for 2012.

“Dairy is a natural when it comes to beneficial additives. We’re seeing everything from milk designed to aid recovery after exercise to milk to help people sleep. And, of course, yogurt has been touted as a digestive health aid for some time,” added Hiebert.

According to the report, the US dairy sector posted a sales increase of 4.1% in the year up to 14 May 2011, hitting over $51bn.

This is set to increase to $53bn by 2015, according to industry analysts Euromonitor.