Plain yoghurt gaining popularity with Australian consumers

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 9th July 2014
Plain yoghurt gaining popularity with Australian consumers
Plain yoghurt gaining popularity with Australian consumers

Over the last five years, there has been a gradual shift away from flavoured or fruity yoghurts towards ‘natural’ or plain yoghurts, according to new findings from market research organisation Roy Morgan Research.

The range of flavoured yoghurts available in Australian supermarkets is overwhelming: strawberry, bush honey, caramel, vanilla bean, blueberry, lemon, coffee. However, Roy Morgan Research found that in the year to March 2014, only 59 per cent of Australians aged 14 years and older were found to have consumed flavoured or fruit yoghurt in the last 12 months, down from 65 per cent in 2010. On the other hand, those who consumed ‘natural’ or plain yoghurt increased from 47 per cent  to 51 per cent in the same period.

Flavoured yoghurt still popular

Notwithstanding the overall decline in consumption, 31 per cent of Australians still consumed flavoured or fruit yoghurt on a daily or weekly basis. Significantly lower proportion of Australians (21 per cent) ate ‘natural’ or plain yoghurt with the same kind of frequency, despite more consumers reporting having eaten plain yoghurt in the last year than five years ago.

“Although consumers of flavoured/fruit yoghurt still outnumber those of natural/plain yoghurt, the trend for flavoured/fruit yoghurt is declining while natural/plain yoghurt is increasing,” said Angela Smith, Group Account Director – Consumer Products, 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,” she said.

“However, despite the growing number of Australians consuming natural/plain yoghurt, they’re consuming it far less frequently than those who eat flavoured/fruit yoghurt,” Ms Smith said.

Yoghurt consumption frequency

In the last twelve months, Roy Morgan Research found that 13 per cent of Australian consumers said they consumed flavoured yoghurt daily, compared with 9 per cent who said they ate plain yoghurt daily. In the same period, 18 per cent of Australians said they ate flavoured yoghurt weekly, whole only 12 per cent said they ate plain yoghurt this often. Monthly consumption of both flavoured and plain yoghurts was at 8 per cent.

Ms Smith said Roy Morgan Research used its profiling tool, Helix Personas, to identify the differences between plain and flavoured yoghurt consumers.

She said 75 per cent of consumers identified as ‘Rural Traditionalists’, who were usually older married couples, living in rural areas and earning average income or retired, said they had consumed flavoured/fruit yoghurt in the last 12 months (well above the national average).

“Usually (if they’re not already retired), many Rural Traditionalists would like to lose weight, but are not so concerned about it that they’d forego their favourite flavoured yoghurt,” Ms Smith said.

On the other hand, 65 per cent of the group of consumers labelled ‘New School Cool’ ate natural/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,” Ms Smith said.

“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,” Ms Smith said.