Consumer Corner: Yogurt Market: Current Status and Consumption Trends

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 Yogurt consumption in Canada | Yogurt market in U.S. | Yogurt consumption in U.S. | Do you know? | Sources of Information
Yogurt Consumption in Canada

Dietary patterns of Canadian consumers are changing.  Rising awareness of the relationship between food choices and personal health is influencing the type of food products consumers demand. The consumption of dairy products is no exception to this trend.  Among dairy products, yogurt has shown a striking increase in per capita consumption since early 1990s.

Canadian per capita consumption of selected dairy products (1993-2012)

Source: Canadian Dairy Information Centre, 2012

There are several possible reasons for the increase in yogurt consumption. These may include:
  • higher number of yogurt products available at the retail level;
  • greater advertising spending on yogurt;
  • functional claims such as probiotics for some yogurts; and,
  • the fact that yogurt may be perceived by consumers as a healthy food
Yogurt is typically marketed as a branded product. Manufacturers offer a variety of flavors and yogurt may come as a drink, frozen product or dessert. Labels offer expanded nutrient information and often carry the Heart and Stroke Foundation health check symbol. Yogurt is often fortified with extra vitamins and minerals and sometimes fiber is included as well.

NPD Group, in their National Eating Trend report stated breakfast and lunch are the meal occasions that show strongest growth in yogurt consumption.

Yogurt Consumption Trend (Breakfast) Percent of Meal Occasions- Base Dish

Source: The NPD Group/National Eating Trends – Canada; years ending March

Yogurt Consumption Trend (Lunch) Percent of Meal Occasions- Base Dish

Source: The NPD Group/National Eating Trends – Canada; years ending March

When we examine Alberta Grocery Sales Data, an increasing trend in yogurt sales values can be observed during the period of 2009 to 2012.

Alberta Grocery Sales Data, Value of Yogurt Sales (Million Dollars)

Source: Nielsen Market Track, Alberta All Channels, 2009 to 2012

Other than the aggregate per capita consumption available through the Canadian Dairy Information Centre, there are very few publically available data sets that allow anyone to examine actual yogurt consumption/purchases in Canada. However, Package Facts has recently completed a some fairly thorough market research on the yogurt in U.S. The next section provides a brief overview of yogurt market and consumption trends in U.S.

Yogurt Market in U.S.

  • Package Facts estimate the U.S.  market for yogurt sold at retail to be $7.3 billion in 2012, up 6.6% from 2011. They also estimate that by 2017, sales will hit almost $9.3 billion.
  • This growth is attributed to one sub category: Greek yogurt.  Packaged Facts estimates that Greek yogurt dollar sales increased more than 50% in 2012 food retail channels, excluding Walmart. At the same time, non-Greek yogurt has seen its sales decrease by 8%.
  • Supermarkets are the largest channel for yogurt sales in 2012 (65% of the total yogurt sales). Other important channels include supercenters/mass markets, natural and specialty gourmet stores and wholesale clubs.
  • A consumer survey also reveals that consumers usually buy yogurt from supermarkets or grocery stores (73%).
  • Refrigerated yogurt is the eighth largest selling subcategory in food, drug and mass market (excluding Walmart).
  • The top three marketers of yogurt account for almost three quarters of all yogurt sales in food, drug and mass market channels. The story is different in natural food stores and specialty gourmet channels, where the leading players are niche brands.
  • Private label controls a large share of the market in refrigerated yogurt.
  • Yogurt sales are growing in food services menus.
  • The yogurt category introduces a number of innovative new products each year. Many of the new products are or contain Greek yogurt.
Yogurt Consumption in U.S.
  • According to the consumer survey (Simmons Survey, 2012), yogurt and smoothie consumption has held steady over the past several years. However, USDA has reported that annual production of yogurt products in US has increased from 3058 million pounds in 2005 to 4272 million pounds in 2011, a 40% increase.
  • A recent report from The NPD Group, titled National Eating Trends found that population segments 18-34 year old and 45-64 year old are the biggest consumers of breakfast yogurt.
  • Yogurt usage by gender (percent)
    Do you eat yogurt?
    Do you personally buy yogurt?
    Of those who personally buy yogurt, do you buy yogurt at least once a month?
Source: Packaged Facts, The yogurt Market and Yogurt Innovation: Greek Yogurt and Beyond,2012
  • About 45% of consumers picked breakfast as the time of day they usually consume yogurt products. Other times prove popular as well, with 32% of consumers eating yogurt at lunch, followed by 32% eating as an afternoon snack, 25% eating as a late morning snack, and 22% eating yogurt as a late night snack (22%).
  • Consumers who have bought Greek yogurt in last 30 days (from the survey date) stated the following reasons for buying Greek yogurt over other kind of yogurt.
    It's healthier53%
    It's tastier47
    It has higher protein content46
    It has better texture44
    It's more filling34
    It has less sugar19
    It has fewer calories17
    It has less sodium8
Source: Packaged Facts, The yogurt Market and Yogurt Innovation: Greek Yogurt and Beyond,2012

Do You Know?........
  • Canadian consumers eat three times as much yogurt as American consumers.
  • Greek yogurt has been revolutionary trend in the market and growing at about 10% each year.
  • Growing Greek yogurt has heated up the competition between producers in Canada and had led to a recent federal court case.
  • The top two marketers of yogurt in Canada and U.S. are Danone SA (Danone, Activia, Stonyfield Farm and Danimal brands), General Mills Inc. (Yoplait).
Sources of Information
  • Canadian consumers eat three times as much yogurt as American consumers.
  • Greek yogurt has been on a growth trend. Sales are growing at about 10% each year.
  • The top yogurt brands in Canada and U.S. are: Danone, Activia, Stonyfield Farm, Danimal, and Yoplait.

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This document is maintained by Erminia Guercio.
This information published to the web on October 9, 2013.
Last Reviewed/Revised on October 24, 2018.