ACNielsen's report, "What's hot around the globe - insights on growth in food & beverage products", says drinkable yoghurt stands out as the fastest growing seller not just in dairy but in the food and beverage industry as a whole.
Plugged in part by marketing, the popularity of these beverages appears to cover a wide and diverse territory across the world, due perhaps to a combination of their functionality and portability.
"Drinkable yoghurt is not only healthy and good tasting, but in many cases, the packaging offers the convenience and portability that consumers crave," said Jane Perrin, senior vice president and managing director for ACNielsen Global Services.
ACNielsen categorised yoghurt drinks as among the products whose sales reached more than $1bn worldwide, though it has not released the exact market figures publicly.
Drinkable yoghurts were number one because they had shown year-over-year growth in 40 of the 45 markets measured. The category was growing at more than 10 per cent in 29 of these markets.
China topped the list with a whopping 49 percent year-over-year growth rate. In other markets, including Greece, Romania, Finland, and Italy, drinkable yoghurts grew by more than 40 percent.
In the United States, growth was down at five percent, however.
Broad opportunities for functional ingredients, such as omega-3, phytosterols and probiotics, in drinkable yoghurt have made the products an attractive area for innovation. Marketing around health, and particularly heart health, has spurred the category on in several markets, including the UK, Spain and Israel, ACNielsen said. Big brands like Danone's Actimel have scored big successes in the UK thanks to their marriage of health and convenience.
ACNielsen's report was based on purchase information from retailers in grocery, drug and mass merchandise outlets and generally excludes kiosks or vending machines. In a few markets, sales from convenience stores may be included.