After Chobani launch, Savory yogurt may be next category shift: Mintel analyst

By Hal Conick

- Last updated on GMT

Will Chobani's flip help create a new category in yogurt?
Will Chobani's flip help create a new category in yogurt?

Related tags Yogurt Marketing Consumer

Chobani’s newest sweet and spicy line, including pineapple chipotle and mango sriracha, may be a sign of what’s next in the yogurt market, a Mintel analyst said.

Beth Bloom, Mintel food and drink analyst, told BeverageDaily that the spread of savory offerings of yogurt in foodservice and yogurt may soon expand.

“The move is good for addressing consumer concerns over high sugar or artificial sweeteners,”​ she said.

“It appeals to a consumer base interested in flavor innovation, especially within a mature category. It diversifies consumption occasions, capitalizing on snacking.”

Bloom said this launch plays on customer interest in spicy, as well as international, flavors, and has the potential to be comparable to the strong growth in sales hummus has seen.

“Chobani is a good brand to do this, as it’s known for innovation,”​ she said.

Flavor the leading driver

A 2014 survey by Mintel found that 36% of consumers look for low-sugar products when purchasing a yogurt. However, Bloom said flavor is the leading purchase driver when looking to buy yogurt.

“Brand resonates with only about one third of consumers. This points to a consumer base that’s open to product trial,”​ she said.

“It should also be a cue to retailers that developing store brand yogurts and yogurt drinks presents an opportunity for sales growth. About one in five category launches tracked by Mintel GNPD during the 2014 measurement period were private label.”

Launching new flavors such as these are a way to boost interest in the brand and product she said, citing the introduction of Greek yogurt into the US market in 2011.

The next step toward an even higher market share?

FoodNavigator-USA recently reported​ that Chobani has continued to pick up market shares in the overall yogurt category, from 17.6% in the past 52 weeks to 18.4% in the past 26 weeks to 19.2% in the past 13 weeks and finally 19.4% in the last four weeks. This is its highest ever share of the market, a company spokesperson said.

Taking a large chunk of market share would mean big bucks for Chobani, as Bloom cited the Mintel’s Yogurt and Yogurt Drinks report from August 2015, which said the yogurt and yogurt drink market will grow 28.8% to $724m in sales by 2020. The total retail sales are $7.98bn as of 2015.

When accounting for spoilable yogurt, such as what Chobani has in its new pineapple chipotle and mango sriracha flavors, it is slated to grow 15% to $8.53bn by 2020 from $7.42bn in 2015. The shift toward these new flavors may help draw additional attention to the Chobani brand.

“Such a shift can attract attention to the category through the offer of a different taste profile, and expand eating occasions, to make the products relevant across day parts,”​ Bloom said, noting that the largest percentage of people eat yogurt at breakfast. The new launch, and others like it, could potentially help change that. 

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