Global yogurt consumption grew 8.46% between 2012 and 2014, higher than overall milk consumption at 5.82%, according to Datamonitor Consumer data.
While yogurt has appeared in a number of product categories over the years, from cereal and snack bars to candy, the high-protein dairy ingredient has migrated into bakery, according to the research firm’s latest Innovation Tracking report.
Yogurt muffins have hit shelves in the US and Spain – Trader Joe’s launched lemon poppy seed and Greek yogurt own label muffins and Spanish firm Industrial Pasterlera San Narciso developed yogurt madeleines. Both products use yogurt in place of milk in the formulation.
Ghina Romani, food and drink researcher at Datamonitor Consumer, said inclusion of yogurt in bakery was clever and appealed on several health fronts.
“Yogurt is high in protein, associated with improving the immune system and with enhancing digestive function…Consumers perceive yogurt as a healthy product,” she told BakeryandSnacks.com.
Giving baked goods a new twist
These products would appeal to health-conscious consumers, Romani said, but also those looking for baked goods with a twist.
“For muffins you need to use milk – it’s an essential ingredient- but instead of milk they’re using yogurt. At the same time it has its own unique taste; it has that tangy kind of taste,” she said. Inclusion into muffins therefore gave consumers a new flavor and experience, she said.
Given the level of yogurt consumption across the globe, such a product also held wide appeal, she said. “Manufacturers can target a very massive segment of consumers.”
In particular, yogurt muffins would appeal to consumers in high yogurt-consuming markets like Malaysia, China, India, Sweden, Poland, the UK and US, Russia and Canada.
However, Romani said bakery manufacturers should research yogurt consumption in each country first to tap into trends. For example, some countries favored low-fat yogurt; others full fat and some flavors were more popular in certain countries compared to others, she said.
Differentiating in a yogurt explosion
Yogurt had exploded into a large number of categories over the years and so competition was fierce, Romani said. Therefore, manufacturers looking to push it into bakery would have to work hard to differentiate ahead of the curve, she warned.
“What will make the products really innovative or interesting, I think, is flavor,” she said.
Bakery manufacturers should think about incorporating flavored yogurts into products, for example, she said.
On-pack communication would also be critical to securing business, she said. “Maybe they can highlight on the packaging that the yogurt is organic or low-fat. If they highlight this it will definitely make the product more appealing.”
In addition, bakery producers could consider teaming up with large yogurt brands for a co-branded product, she said.