Food companies are getting creative with Greek yogurt, expanding it into new categories and formats, as they seek to profit from its meteoric rise.
The US market for Greek yogurt has boomed in recent years, with consumers craving its dense, creamy texture and low-fat, protein-rich nutrient profile. According to UBS research, Greek yogurt accounted for just 0.7% of the total US yogurt market in 2006. It now makes up about a third of the market, which Euromonitor predicts will be worth $9bn by 2015.
One company that is looking to take advantage of Greek yogurt’s surging popularity is Wisconsin-based Denali Ingredients, which has developed a new stabilizer system for frozen Greek yogurts – dubbed ‘Ideal #680’ – and a range of flavor concepts, including Vanilla Honey Cinnamon Swirl, Blueberry Cheescake and Raspberry Chocolate Chunk.
Denali’s director of business development for stabilizer systems, Doug Allen, said: “We were getting requests from our customers as to how to make Greek frozen yogurt, about what Greek frozen yogurt would look like and what it should taste like. What we tried to do is develop a finished product.”
Rather than use a Greek yogurt as the starting point, the company began with a regular frozen yogurt and then worked with its stabilizer systems and ingredients for boosting protein content to levels expected by consumers for a Greek yogurt product – about twice that of regular yogurt.
Denali says it is targeting small to medium-sized players and retailers with its ingredients, but some multinationals have already launched products in the frozen category. Dannon was a relative latecomer to the Greek yogurt market, but launched a frozen version at the beginning of April under its YoCream brand.
“In terms of the frozen dessert industry, there are products coming on to the market now, so it will be interesting to see how they go with consumers,” Allen said. “…It remains to be seen if frozen Greek yogurt does for the frozen dessert category what Greek yogurt has done for the refrigerated yogurt category.”
According to the latest What’s in Store 2012 report, published annually by the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA), Greek yogurt is also beginning to appear in a range of other categories. Product newcomers include Greek yogurt smoothies, compartmentalized Greek yogurt with a side of granola, Greek yogurt bars and an expanding range of flavors. Larger containers have also appeared in order to encourage use of Greek yogurt in recipes, and increasingly, consumers are using it as a substitute for mayonnaise, sour cream or cream cheese.