Protein claims taking over from “probiotic” in yoghurt?

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 11th December 2013

Over 10 per cent of new yoghurt products with a launched globally in the year to September 2013 had a ‘high protein’ claim, compared to just 3 per cent of all food and drinks products, according to market research organisation Innova Market Insights.

The global figure is skewed by yoghurt products in the US, where over one-third of introductions were marketed using a ‘high protein’ or ‘source-of-protein’ positioning, according to Innova Market Insights. This figure falls to just over 6 per cent in Western Europe, where it is only the UK that is really showing the beginning of a similar trend to that in the US.

“The rise of Greek and Greek-style strained yoghurts, which are inherently higher in protein than standard lines, has paved the way for the positioning of yoghurts on a high-protein platform,” said Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights.

“Although most of these are also ‘probiotic’, once also a key marketing positioning, problems over health claims in this area have caused companies to divert attention away from digestive health in many instances; often toward nutrient content,” Ms Williams said. “This has tended to lead to a focus on the higher protein content of Greek-style products, alongside traditional focus on their creamy and indulgent image,” she said.

High protein “broghurts”

In the US, where the booming interest in Greek and Greek-style yoghurts was first apparent, Innova Market Insights said there has been an increasing focus on the higher protein content of this kind of product.

A new so-called “broghurt” sub-category has started to appear in the wake of this trend, with an increasing number of launches appealing more specifically to mean, particularly those interested in fitness. Powerful Yoghurt in the US claimed to have introduced the first Greek yoghurt for men in March 2013, feature a larger “man-sized” 8-ounce cup and 25g of ‘natural protein’ per pot.

Protein claims rising in other yoghurts

There is also rising activity in emphasising the protein content of non-Greek-style yoghurts. A softer approach to claim in the EU in the wake of health claims legislation has resulted in rising interest in products offering a more general ‘health and wellbeing’ image, according to Innova Market Insights.

An early entrant in this area of the market is Emmi, which launched its Good Day range in Switzerland in mid-2013, encompassing ‘reduced-fat’, ‘high-protein’ and ‘lactose-free’ yoghurt, yoghurt drinks and milk.

Other developments include the launch of frozen yoghurt options with a ‘high-protein’ positioning, such as ProYo in the US, and other strained (but not Greek or Greek-style) ‘high-protein’ yoghurt options. These included Smari Icelandic yoghurt brand, which was launched in the US in mid-2013 and a new Protein variant of General Mills’ Yoplait Go Gurt children’s hand-held yoghurt brand, which offered twice the protein of the standard range.

“With high-protein foods one of the most sought-after nutritional choices at the moment, and the need for strained yoghurt to find new ways of promoting itself in the wake of difficulties over the ‘Greek’ descriptor in some instances, the high-protein yoghurt market seems ripe for further development,” Ms Williams said.

Australian Food News reported in November 2013 that market research organisation Mintel had also found ‘high-protein’ claims were set to grow, which was also aiding the comeback of ‘low-carb’ claims.

Powerful Yoghurt is an example of a new "broghurt"