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Yogurt sales off to a fast start.

By every measurement, 1992 was an excellent year for cup (refrigerated) yogurt. It is estimated that the total market for cup yogurt reached $1.62 billion in the United States in 1992, an increase of more than 13% over 1991's total market of $1.43 billion. This represents the biggest increase in refrigerated yogurt sales since 1983, according to a new report by the New York consulting and research firm FIND/SVP.

One factor that has led to the strong sales is the number and variety of new product introductions. These include yogurts designed especially for children, yogurts sweetened with aspartame, several "crunchy" varieties, many reduced-fat products, and new unusual flavors. In 1992, 124 new refrigerated yogurt products were introduced versus only 75 new products in 1990. By 1992, many of the leading yogurt manufacturers were carrying a regular low-fat line, a nonfat line, and a nonfat, aspartame-sweetened line.

Per capita consumption of yogurt in the United States has changed little since 1986. In both 1986 and 1991, the average American consumed about 4.4 pounds of yogurt per year. However, during the 20 years prior to 1986, yogurt consumption in the United States rose almost on an annual basis.

Future Growth

FIND/SVP expects moderate growth in the cup yogurt segment over the next five years. It is estimated that the total value of all retail sales of cup yogurt in the United States should rise at the rate of about 5% to 7% annually over the next five years. This means that refrigerated yogurt sales should increase from about $1.62 billion in 1992 to roughly $2.15 billion by 1997.

Future growth in the yogurt market will come from gradually expanding the consumer base and from getting current yogurt eaters to consume more of the product," says Peter Allen, FIND/SVPs Vice President, Market Research Reports. "Yogurt marketers have started to aggressively target segments of the population that have not traditionally eaten very much yogurt, such as children and men."

The biggest challenge facing yogurt marketers in 1993 is the problem of finding a way to convince American consumers that yogurt is something they should eat regularly.

"The problem," says Allen, "is that Americans perceive yogurt as an occasional low calorie snack rather as something to be eaten with meals on a daily basis."

About 38% of Americans eat cup yogurt regularly. The figure compares to over 80% in France. Women are the primary consumers of cup yogurt in the United States, accounting for about 60% of all consumption.

Yogurt sales should also benefit due to the fact many people are now becoming very health conscious and yogurt is a healthy food.

Yogurt for Children

Traditionally, American children have not been big fans of yogurt. According to one source, only about 27% of children aged 6 to 11 eat cup yogurt regularly. To interest more children in eating yogurt, yogurt companies have come up with new varieties formulated specifically for kids.

Dannon has developed Sprinkl'ins Lowfat Yogurt with Rainbow Sprinkles which has a thicker consistency with less fruit and stronger sweeter flavors than other Dannon yogurts. In addition, it is sold with a separate packet of candy sprinkles that children can add to the yogurt to suit their own preference. Yoplait markets Trix yogurt, based on the cereal and featuring the Trix rabbit.

Market Shares by Brand

Taken together, the four leading cup yogurt marketers--Dannon, Yoplait, Kraft, and Weight Watchers--controlled roughly 66% of the U.S. market in 1992. Private labels accounted for another 13% of the total market and the remaining 21% was divided among the many regional processors.

Yogurt Drinks and Shakes

U.S. sales of liquid yogurt products in 1992 were estimated to be approximately $12.8 million, up 6.7% from 1991. Although yogurt drinks are not yet gaining mass appeal, they are successful niche products. Reportedly, the best-selling yogurt drink in the United States in 1992 was Kemps Yo-J, a yogurt and juice blend marketed by Marigold Foods.

Continued growth over the long term is forecasted for the liquid yogurt segment. The proliferation of new product introductions in this segment indicates that a number of marketers believe the consumers will now be receptive to this type of yogurt.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Frozen Food Digest
Date:Oct 1, 1993
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