The latest research shows an overwhelming shift in consumer behavior. More than 90% believe that ingredients they recognize and can pronounce are healthier. Consumers are moving away from merely reading fat grams and calorie counts. Today more than ever, they demand “clean labels” that are absent of synthetic emulsifiers, additives and unfamiliar ingredients.
Food trends indicate that consumers are choosing food and drinks that support their healthy lifestyles. Of special interest to food manufacturers and yogurt brands is that 75% of consumers are willing to pay extra for clean label products. They aren’t willing to sacrifice taste or texture in the process, however. On the contrary, heightened focus on flavor is on trend.
Greek Yogurt Trends Continue to Strengthen
The global Greek yogurt market surpassed $5.6 billion in 2018 and is projected to surge an additional 7.4% in 2019 alone. This significant growth in the yogurt category is a result of shoppers flocking to the refrigerated dairy aisles of grocery stores. In addition to the product’s versatility and flavor, the proven health benefits of Greek yogurt are a reason sales are so strong. Greek yogurt has approximately twice the amount of protein as regular yogurt and is also an excellent source of calcium, potassium and other nutrients. Its nutritional values far surpass those of other categories such as non-dairy or plant based foods.
The Greek yogurt market share in North America will remain strong with expected sales continuing to increase in the next five forecast years. Food manufacturers are reformulating many of their products as a result, but incorporating perishable dairy ingredients into applications is often challenging. There are many issues with using fresh Greek yogurt on a large scale. A short shelf life, storage and refrigeration considerations, the risk of contamination and required permits are among them.
Yogurt continues to rank as one of the top 10 superfoods, right up there with ancient grains, kale, hemp, chia and olive oil. Many are benefiting from the advantages of dried Greek yogurt powder as an alternative while still meeting consumer demands for healthy ingredients and clean labeling.
Not only does it taste great, it provides significant sources of protein and branched chain amino acids necessary for the human body, especially as it relates to muscle function and growing children.
It’s clear—Greek yogurt isn’t just for breakfast anymore. Here are some innovative ways that manufacturers are incorporating it into applications at restaurants and on grocery store shelves:
Food and Beverage Trends Incorporating Greek Yogurt
Sauces, dips and condiments are trending again, and dried Greek yogurt powder lends a robust flavor profile to many recipes. Restaurant and fast casual dining menus are returning to classic dishes with a twist, emphasizing savory flavors and textures. While fresh foods have increased in sales, consumers are dipping and dousing them with sauces containing ethnic flavor profiles inspired by Asian, African and Mediterranean cuisines.
Protein shakes and smoothies continue to rank high among consumers. Using dried Greek yogurt powder adds protein-rich flavor, and its water-holding functionality creates a rich, creamy texture. The latest 20% uptick in drinkable yogurt sales as a breakfast staple is one more reason for food and beverage manufacturers to include this innovative ingredient in their repertoire.
On-the-go consumers are also expected to reach for more protein-rich snacks as they remain mindful of athletic activities and weight management. Food manufacturers are formulating crunchy snack mixes, bars, bar coatings and other snack applications using dried Greek yogurt powder. Its clean, neutral flavor complements other ingredients and is nonfat. Packaged and portable snacks are moving away from sugar-laden treats and are featuring higher quality ingredients that improve satiety and can support various health initiatives. Among those are the low-carb and Keto lifestyles that typically include increased protein intake.
Classic creamy soups remain popular, with a surprising rise in fruit soups—a perfectly refreshing pairing with the authentic flavor of Greek yogurt. Mediterranean cuisines are especially influential in this category, featuring creamy cucumber, tomato hummus, Tuscan garlic and summer squash with basil. Consumer attitudes toward soup has evolved in the last decade. The traditional “meat and potatoes” approach is being replaced with lighter fare that focuses on umami flavors and global influences.
The sales of frozen meal entrees and side dishes has seen a resurgence after years of declining sales. Many consumers are realizing that the nutritional value of many frozen foods is equal to or greater than fresh options due to modern methods of preserving foods. Frozen novelties have remained popular, and sales prove that adding protein can turn around declining categories like frozen appetizers.
Watch for manufacturers to incorporate protein-rich alternatives like Greek yogurt into their frozen applications, especially within the low-calorie, high-protein ice cream category. This segment of the frozen novelty market is soaring, and manufacturers are looking to add surprising flavors to accent traditional vanilla by including avocado, coconut water, tahini and even cheese. Using dried Greek yogurt powder with its low-fat, nutritional properties is ideally suited for frozen applications. Freezing fresh dairy can affect its texture, however, dried Greek yogurt powder remains freeze-thaw stable because of its functional properties.
Food and beverage trends come and go, but the demand for wholesome products never goes out of style. Food manufacturers can meet consumer demand and benefit from Greek yogurt’s continually increasing popularity while solving for manufacturing challenges.
Including Grande PrimoTM G60 dried Greek yogurt in your formulations can help you capture the attention of consumers and market share. Reformulating isn’t a matter of simply switching out ingredients, however. To understand the process of achieving authentic yogurt taste and texture without the challenge of using perishable fresh yogurt, access our Guide to Reformulating with Dried Greek Yogurt Powder below.