Wellness was an expanding trend before the pandemic, but the last two years have really highlighted the importance of physical and mental health. People are continuing to look for need-specific, tailor-made products with mindful ingredients for immune function, among other things. This is where yogurt ticks all the boxes.
“Yogurt fits well with a healthy regime,” says Sylvain Charlebois, senior director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University. “Gut health is increasingly becoming a focus for a growing number of people, which is why the category has potential for growth. And we’ve seen interesting innovations in the category keeping consumers engaged.”
As consumers are learning to be more aware of their mind-gut connection and are turning to good food to feed their brain and fuel their bodies, health and wellness has transformed from a niche market focused on organic varieties to a $175 billion mainstream powerhouse according to NielsenIQ, who predicts another $30 billion in growth by the end of 2023. Their latest stats also note that sales of yogurt in Canada have reached upwards of $1.7 billion, contributing to a 4% increase between December 2020 to December 2021.
Danone Canada’s senior vice-president, Iannick Melançon, sees a steep incline in the near future. The corporation’s 2021 Usage & Attitude study shows consumers choose yogurt for three main reasons: health, taste and texture, and convenience (ease of getting nutrients, like calcium and protein). He adds, “Whenever we come up with a new product, we always keep these in mind.”
According to Canadian Grocer, the food industry is going through a necessary disruption. “In fact, at Danone, we go so far as to call it a ‘food revolution’ – one driven by consumers who are shifting dramatically towards healthier eating habits while questioning where their food comes from, how it was produced, and the impact it has on their community,” Melançon says.
Like CJR projected in early 2021, today’s shopper is becoming increasingly interested in not only the benefits of the product itself, but what it is sold in, where it came from and how they can access it. They want nutrition that aligns with individual health needs, and food choices that align with values like sustainability and accessibility.
The fact that yogurt encompasses a lot of these values is evident as consumers push sales into record territory. A report from Innova Market Insights estimates the global market for yogurt (both dairy and non-dairy) would exceed the US$100 billion mark in 2021, for the first time. Canadian’s hunger for yogurt only seems to be growing. Even with any inflation factors, yogurts’ limelight doesn’t seem to be fading any time soon.