Opportunity exists for cultured dairy options such as quark

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

As Greek yogurt growth slows, consumers seek new options in cultured dairy. ©iStock/bigacis
As Greek yogurt growth slows, consumers seek new options in cultured dairy. ©iStock/bigacis

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Relative newcomer Misha Quark is looking to edge its way into the crowded cultured-dairy market. 

Growth of Greek yogurt has slowed for major brands like Chobani, which hasn’t been experiencing the same meteoric sales it once did when it went from $3m in sales in 2007 to more than $1bn five years later. Traditional yogurt such as General Mills’ Yoplait and Go-Gurt has had sluggish growth for even longer​, the company reported in its Q3 financial report last year.

Culturing new dairy options

However, consumers have not lost interest in cultured dairy. Instead, they are seeking out alternative dairy products such as kefir, skyr, modernized cottage cheese​, and more recently quark.

Helped by consumer interest in high-protein snacking, quark is poised to make its mark in cultured dairy as a convenient and healthy spoonable mild cheese that packs 17 grams of protein per 5.3-ounce cup and is 95% lactose-free. 

According to Misha Quark’s founders Kamilya Abilova and Daniyar Chukin, their products capture the best part of yogurt, being its smooth texture, but there is distinctly different flavor.

“Thanks to a special blend of European cultures and production processes, Misha Quark has none of the sour tartness of ordinary yogurt. Misha Quark is for yogurt fans who don’t like tart yogurt,”​ the company said.

Its flavor line-up includes strawberry rhubarb, key lime, blueberry, original, and vanilla bean coconut all made with real fruit and milk from grass-fed cows for a suggested retail price of $2.49 per cup.

It is currently available in supermarkets and specialty stores in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland and through www.freshdirect.com.

Sustainability values

“From the very beginning we started out with the belief that our quark had to deliver on the delicious, protein-packed and truly fulfilling snacking experience, while at the same time being made as sustainably as possible,”​ Abilova said.

According to the company, the packaging is made with 50% less plastic than the average yogurt container, and is completely recyclable. Additionally, Misha sources its grass-fed milk from local family farms in Upstate New York that use sustainable farming practices and no synthetic growth hormones.

The New York-based company has been marketing its product as a health snack option or as versatile ingredient for at-home recipes. 

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