A recent study by Kadence International, in Singapore, found that Meiji is the number 1 yogurt brand, in terms of number of consumers using it, followed closely by Marigold.
In addition, nearly all Singaporeans are aware of Meiji (96%) and Marigold (97%). Just under half of consumers (49%) currently eat Meiji yogurt, and in second place is Margiold (46%).
Top 5 brands:
3. F&N Magnolia
4. F&N Magnolia 0% fat
5. Nestlé Natural
These two brands dominate the yogurt market in Singapore, with F&N Magnolia and F&N Magnolia 0% Fat significantly behind, taking up the third (33%) and fourth spots (20%) respectively.
Nestlé Natural rounds off the top five, with 14% of Singaporeans currently consuming it.
The online study conducted by Kadence included 1,555 respondents in Singapore to understand their perceptions of different yogurt brands and the influence of health trends upon this.
When asked what imagery comes to mind about the brand, Meiji was seen to represent great taste, a great choice of flavors and was most likely to be considered a brand consumers trust. In contrast, consumers were much less able to associate other yogurt brands with particularly imagery or perceptions.
The strong association between taste and trust helps explain the success of Meiji, as these are the main factors consumers look for when they shop the category.
Taste is the most important driver of consumption for yogurt, and an area where Meiji dominates. The strong brand awareness of 96% and 97% respectively also means that Meiji and Marigold get chosen from the retail shelves.
The study also looked into current healthy eating perceptions in Singapore. It is of no surprise that many consumers pursue a healthier lifestyle, which includes food consumption.
Two-thirds of Singaporeans (66%) said they try to eat healthily, but sometimes fall short. Whereas a fifth (17%) said they always eat healthily. In contrast, 17% of Singaporeans responded that they do not endorse a healthy eating lifestyle.
The fortunes of yogurt brands change dramatically when looking only at those healthiest 17% of Singaporean consumers. For those following a healthy diet and lifestyle, Meiji and Marigold are replaced as the most consumed brands of yogurt by Fage (68%) and Chobani (60%).
In contrast, both brands had very low levels of consumption when it comes to all Singaporeans in general, only 1% and 3% respectively, suggesting both brands represent a niche yogurt territory targeted towards healthy consumers.
Both brands focus on their health credentials, promoting their all-natural Greek strained yogurt and very low fat content.
These messages give them clear brand differentiation and resonate with the healthiest segment of consumers, as perceptions of Chobani as a brand that helps maintain a healthy diet jumps by 30% between all consumers and the healthy focused.
Consumers also felt strongly that Chobani is a good choice of yogurt for the whole family, although relatively lacking on having a wide range of taste and exciting flavors. Fage enjoys a similarly strong shift in perceptions when it comes to the health-conscious segment. However Fage shows more positive numbers in having exciting flavors and formats as well as a brand with a ‘buzz.’
The importance of trust in a brand’s health credentials become more important when choosing a yogurt for the health focused consumer group, rising from eighth place for all consumers to second place for the health focused.
Health priorities for professionals
When looking into who makes up the healthiest consumers in Singapore, we find that there are few differences in terms of age and gender.
However, there is one group that does stand out. Doctors, lawyers, accountants, bankers and engineers are all more likely to say they always eat healthily.
In contrast, students are more likely to identify with an unhealthy lifestyle.
Arguably, those in the professions are more aware of the importance and role of diet in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and general health benefits; especially compared to students. Similarly, students have a tendency to focus on price, and so put a lower emphasis on health versus value for money, in contrast to those who can afford to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Taste vs. health
Looking at the study results, it seems that there is a perception taste and healthy ingredients do not coexist in most yogurt products out in the market today – and this would be an area for yogurt brands to develop their products further.
Currently, however, each brand and products are positioned to target different consumer segments – consumers looking for rich flavor, health-conscious consumers, children and teens, and the elderly, to name a few.
Chobani, Farmer’s Union and F&N Marigold 0% are all perceived as healthy product choices endorsed by health-conscious consumer groups, but they lack in the diversity of flavors available on the shelves.
Meiji, Marigold and F&N Marigold all provide a wide selection for consumers, but are perceived as not being produced with the finest ingredients.
Of course larger dairy producers such as F&N or Yoplait already have a range of products within their portfolio to meet different consumer demands. However, knowing both the general and niche demands and the latest consumer trends according to different target groups helps when it comes to brand positioning, regardless of whether a brand is big or relatively small.
Kadence Singapore is an Asian consultancy-led research company for full service market research across APAC and the world.