There is growth opportunity in the natural yoghurt sector in Australia but manufacturers need to have environmentally-conscious branding and focus on promoting the health benefits, according to research.
Australian market research company, Roy Morgan Research, conducted a study into yoghurt consumption trends in the country over 12 months from October 2010 to September 2011.
It found that 36% of Australians (6.6 million) consumed natural or plain yoghurt in a four week period, up from 31% (5.2 million) in 2007.
The research showed that these consumers are typically more health conscious and pay closer attention to ingredients, compared to the average Australian.
Norman Morris, industry communications director at Roy Morgan Research said: “Dairy marketers may be well advised to focus on promoting the health benefits of natural yoghurt and continue increasing its appeal to health-conscious consumers.”
The research did however show that currently, fruit or flavoured yoghurts are the popular choice for the majority of Australians, with 52% choosing to eat these instead.
Healthy Australian preference
The data showed the most popular brands of natural or plain yoghurt to be Australian brands; Farms Union, Jalna and Dairy Farmers.
While American brand Yoplait and Swiss dairy giant Nestlé had a substantial consumer take-up in the yoghurt market, they were second choice for the majority of Australians.
The research profiled consumers differently according to what brand they chose. It showed that consumers choosing the more popular local brand Jalna were focused on eating additive free or organic food, while those consuming Nestlé products were concerned about fat intake.
“The increasing popularity of Jalna with its clear health and environmentally-conscious branding, serves to emphasise the merit in this approach,” Morris added.
This identified health trend falls in line with the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council issuing its new draft guidelines for ‘healthy eating’ in December last year.
The guidance advised less fat, sugar and salt in the diets of Australian consumers and included recommendations of the need to eat more milk products of the low fat variety, including yoghurt.
“Australians seem to be turning to natural yoghurt as part of a balanced and nutritious diet. As we hear more about the health and digestive benefits of yoghurt, more people are consuming this as a healthier dairy alternative,” Morris said.