According to NPD’s National Eating Trends research per capita yogurt consumption in the US has more than doubled over the last ten years, and now nearly one in three people in the country eats yogurt.
It has attributed the growth to a combination of more people in the 18-to-34 age segment, an increase in breakfast meals being consumed by this age group, and yogurt’s consumption in a higher share of these meals.
The combination of these factors has resulted in approximately 200m more yogurt consumption “occasions” among the 18 to 34 age range since 2007, the NPD research claims.
18-to-34-year olds eating breakfast
NPD found that around three-quarters of all yogurt consumption now takes place in the home – as a meal, a meal replacement, a snack, and even as a dessert.
In addition to eating occasions, the research firm examined the age of yogurt eaters in the US.
Speaking with DairyReporter.com, NPD food and beverage industry analyst Darren Seifer also pinpointed the 46-to-64 age range as a key driver of the growth.
The company found that more than half of yogurt’s consumption growth at breakfast in the US can be attributed to these two age groups.
“This is an important group in the United States as many of them are entering new life stages as kids move out of the home allowing the adults to refocus on themselves. This is also at a time when health ailments begin to increase, so we have historically seen adults in this age group seek healthier food and beverage options, and yogurt fits that description,” he said.
Greek yogurt breathed “new life” into category
NPD added that innovations such as smart packaging and Greek yogurt continue to “breathe new life” into the yogurt category.
“Greek yogurt has helped fuel growth in the yogurt category. In terms of consumption, it represented less than 1% of yogurts eaten in 2009, but more recently in 2012, it is now little more than 5%. It’s still a small player in yogurt but its growth should not be ignored. Moreover, Greek yogurt is typically higher in protein, which many American are seeking in their diets," said Seifer.
“Americans seek foods that have health halos to them. We are drawn to foods that first and foremost, taste good but also claim to either make us healthier or provide something we lack."
He added, however, that this healthy perception of yogurt could easily change.
"Yogurt connects with consumers on these needs, but that doesn’t mean that other products won’t enter into the consideration set. Eggs, for example, use to be demonized for their cholesterol levels, but are now viewed more as a course of protein. Perception of other categories can change, and that could chip away at yogurt’s growth going forward.”