According to market analysts Euromonitor, Yoghurt is recording quite a healthy growth at a world level and Eastern Europe is not an exception. They estimate that retail sales of yoghurt in the region will reach $1,525 million in 2004, around 13 per cent up on the previous year. This figure, however, is fairly low in relative terms, especially when compared with Western Europe, where consumption per capita is expected to be $33 in 2004, almost eight times as much Euromonitor's estimates for retail sales of yoghurt in Eastern Europe. The latter can give an idea of the low development of these products in the region and its potential for growth over the next few years.
"The three most important markets in Eastern Europe are Russia, Poland and the Czech Republic, where we estimate retail sales of $382 million, $308 millionn and $113 million respectively for 2004," said Euromonitor's Francisco Redruello. "Fruited yoghurts will be one of the key drivers for sales of these products, benefiting from its healthy image among middle classes, and the large investment in advertising and investments to increase production capacity."
Euromonitor also points out that changes could be afoot in the Russian yoghurt market where the threat of import taxes for dairy products is encouraging many import companies to open local production facilities. In turn a growth in value of 13 per cent is expected for fruited yoghurt in the country this year.
Fruited lines, accounting for a third of total sales of yoghurt, are becoming affordable for a growing number of Polish consumers. The local industry, on the other hand, has managed to raise the profile of national brands, now competing successfully with renowned multinationals such as Danone or Zott.
Likewise, Euromonitor expects a growth of almost 20 per cent in value for fruited yoghurts in the Czech Republic, where these products account for over 50 per cent of total yoghurt sales in 2004. The growth of yoghurt in this country is being driven by premium products imported from abroad and by innovation and quality improvements undertaken by domestic producers. German, Slovakian and Polish brands are proving especially popular in this country.
"Pro-biotic yoghurts are recording the highest growth in value, and we estimate an average increase in retail sales of 25 per cent in 2004 for the entire region," said Redruello. "These products are benefiting from the increasing awareness among middle classes of the benefits of live bacteria on the digestive system and the large investment in new lines introduced by the manufacturers in the last few years. However, this can be considered a 'niche product', due to its high price and the limited number of brands and flavours available in the market. We estimate that retail sales of pro-biotic yoghurts in the two largest markets, Russia and Czech Republic will reach a mere $33 million and $25 million in 2004."
Kicking off the launches Poland is where we find French yoghurt giant Danone launching Danonki Mega Yoghurt, a brand new product aimed at the children's market. Priced at €0.86 for a pack of four tubs that total 320 grams, the launch features two strawberry and two vanilla yoghurts that are said to be enriched with calcium and vitamin D. Ingredients include skimmed yoghurt, cream and 6.2 per cent fruit.
In Poland Swiss food company Mövenpick is launching a brand new line, Eler Rahmjoghurt Mild Mit Feinem Karamell Yogurt. Packaged in individual 150 gram tub that will retail at €0.60, this is a premium yoghurt that features creamy mild-tasting yoghurt with a 15 per cent fat content and 9 per cent caramel.
Hungary witnesses the launch this month of a lactose-free yoghurt from Naszálytej. This is a 150 gram pot of apricot flavoured yoghurt that is an extension to an existing product line. Priced at €0.34, the product targets the growing band of people who suffer from lactose intolerance - a problem that is said to be particularly acute in eastern Europe. It is made from homogenized low fat milk and features yoghurt culture, fruit sugar extract and natural colours.
Moving to Russia Danone is also busy launching an extension to its popular Fruit Sour-Milk product line. Featuring strawberry flavoured yoghurt with fruit pieces and a 3.6 per cent fat content, the 190 gram tubs are expected to retail for €0.48. The company says that it will continue to market this line of yoghurt as a morning snack.
Also in Russia Rizii Up, part of the Baby Milk Products Plant company, is launching Cherry-Orange Flavoured Drinking Yoghurt. Available in PET moulded bottles of 200ml that feature a cartoon design on the labels, the product will sell for €0.34 when it is launched during the course of this month. Ingredients include fruit pureé, natural flavourings and colouring, together with a variety of vitamins and minerals.
This range of yoghurts is part of a selection from Mintel's Global New Product Database.