Monday, July 22, 2024

New high-protein yoghurts enter the UK market

Mintel looks at how high-protein yoghurts have the potential to grow the yoghurt market by unlocking occasions centred around satiety.

Apparently jumping on the bandwagon of products targeting healthy New Year’s resolutions, two new high-protein yoghurts entered the UK market in January.

Arla, one of the leading dairy companies in the UK, launched Arla Protein, a quark-based yoghurt made with skimmed milk. The fat-free product is said to offer a “super-thick texture” and 20g of protein per 200g pot of yoghurt.

Powerful Yogurt, meanwhile, is a new entrant to the market. Its Greek-style yoghurt targeting men is produced in Ireland under licence from the Miami-based brand. Aiming to target specialist channels such as gyms, online stores and health stores, the yoghurt is said to contain 25g of protein per 227g pot.

The new entrants join a decidedly niche segment. Only three per cent of yoghurt and yoghurt drink launches in the UK featured a high-protein claim in 2014, on a par with the 2013 level, as captured by Mintel GNPD.

Thus far, the limited activity in the segment remains in the hands of leading yoghurt companies, with Danone present through the Danio brand and Yoplait through Liberté. The US brand Chobani pulled out of the market in November 2013, following a dispute over its use of the term ‘Greek yogurt’.

Few people eat yoghurt when hungry

Some 41 per cent of users ate yoghurt as an alternative to other sweet treats and 31 per cent when feeling hungry in between meals, according to Mintel’s research for the ‘Yogurt and Yogurt Drinks’ report from July 2014.

By comparison, 56 per cent of people eat snacks when feeling hungry between meals, suggesting that yoghurt is missing out on key snacking occasions. This comes as little surprise given that only nine per cent of people see yoghurt/fromage frais (soft, fresh cheese) as helping to keep them fuller for longer.

Protein was cited as a reason to eat yoghurt by just 17 per cent of users, the relatively low ranking partly reflecting the low availability of high-protein products on the market at the time. However, as 34 per cent of people think that high-protein food helps you feel fuller for longer, the protein claim should help operators to win over those snacking on yoghurt when hungry, and to further to grow uptake of yoghurt on this occasion.

While protein has not gained European Food Safety Authority approval for satiety claims, this image should help the protein proposition to unlock new occasions for yoghurt. The new entrants, meanwhile, should help to boost awareness of high-protein yoghurt.

Focus on specialist channels can support differentiation

Some 30 per cent of people think protein assists with building muscle, boding well for Powerful Yogurt’s plan to target channels such as gyms and health stores. Though offering limited mainstream visibility, a presence in these should help to build its specialist image. That only five per cent of people see yoghurt/fromage frais as unhealthy further highlights its potential to resonate in this context.

Such differentiation could offer the brand a valuable USP in that both Powerful Yogurt and Arla Protein’s offerings stand closely on a par with Danio and Liberte’s unflavoured variants, offering some 10 per cent of protein by weight, and with a similar proposition in terms of their low/no fat proposition and a focus on the thick texture and natural credentials. 

What it means

  • Yoghurt under performs on key snacking associations, due to its image as not being filling, with usage mainly driven by its indulgent-snack proposition.
  • High-protein yoghurts have the potential to unlock occasions centred around satiety, to grow usage of yoghurt.
  • A focus on specialist channels can help differentiate Powerful Yogurt from the competitors, with the mainstream high-protein products currently offering a similar proposition. 

Kiti Soininen

Head of UK Food, Drink and Foodservice Research

Kiti manages Mintel’s UK food and drink research team, which produces more than 60 reports annually, spanning the food, drink and food service industries in the UK. She joined Mintel in 2004 as a European retail analyst, before specialising in the food sector as a senior food analyst in 2009 and taking responsibility for the team in 2011. 

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