From bush honey to vanilla bean, Australian dairy sections boast a wide range of yoghurt flavours. But over the last five years, the country’s yoghurt-eating habits have shown a gradual but undeniable shift away from flavoured or fruity yoghurts, and towards natural and plain flavours.
In the year to March 2014, 59% of Australians over the age of 14 consumed flavoured or fruit yoghurt over the previous 12 months—down from 65% in 2010—according to new figures released by Roy Morgan Research.
On the other hand, those who consumed natural or plain yoghurt increased from 47% to 51% over the same period.
High sugar content
“Although consumers of flavoured or fruit yoghurts still outnumber those of natural or plain yoghurts, the trend for the former is declining while the latter is increasing,” said Angela Smith of Roy Morgan Research.
“This may be related to growing public awareness of the high sugar content of flavoured yoghurts, or part of a larger trend towards consuming more natural foods in general.”
Notwithstanding the overall decline in consumption, 31% of Australians still consume flavoured or fruit yoghurts on a daily or weekly basis, whereas a significantly lower proportion of Australians (21%) eat natural or plain yoghurt with the same kind of frequency, even though more are choosing plain flavours than was the case five years ago.
In terms of demographics, 75% of the “Rural Traditionalists’ group of older, often retired married couples who live outside cities consumed flavoured or fruit yoghurts in the last 12 months.
“[These consumers] would like to lose weight, but are not so concerned about it that they’d forego their favourite flavoured yoghurt,” explained Smith.
“On the other hand, 65% of the ‘New School Cool’ group ate natural or plain yoghurt—again, well above average. These well-educated, high-earning individuals are active and health conscious, and would be well aware of natural yoghurt’s dietary advantages.
“To grow their brand in this increasingly competitive market, yoghurt companies need to stay abreast of these distinct trends and changes in Australians’ yoghurt consumption habits.”