Move over, Greek yogurt.
The protein-rich breakfast staple, which has enjoyed an astronomical ascent in recent years, is being replaced by a new form of dairy.
The latest fad: Yogurt drinks, according to a report by research firm Mintel.
Yogurt smoothies, kefir and other drinks are experiencing double-digit growth because, researchers say, they offer a more portable, spoon-less alternative to traditional forms of yogurt. As a result, sales of yogurt drinks have climbed 62 percent over the past five years and are projected to grow another 11 percent this year, according to Mintel. (Sales of “spoonable” yogurt, by comparison, grew 27 percent since 2011.)
Meanwhile, year-over-year sales of traditional forms of yogurt have been sliding since 2013.
Greek yogurt in particular has been battling diminished sales growth in recent years. The thick, creamy product became a mainstream sensation a decade ago, The Washington Post reported last year:
The breakfast favorite’s astonishingly fast growth is epitomized by the success of Chobani—perhaps the best known brand: the company, which began selling Greek yogurt in 2007, saw its sales skyrocket from just over $3 million to more than $1.1 billion in its first five years. Today, Greek Yogurt accounts for roughly half of all yogurt sales in the United States.
Recently, though, the industry’s double-digit growth has tapered off.
“Old fashioned Greek yogurt is definitely losing some steam,” Jared Koerten, a senior food analyst at Euromonitor, told The Washington Post in December. “We grow tired of things pretty quickly here in the United States.”
But researchers say the popularity of Greek yogurt played a large role in reintroducing the dairy staple to millions of Americans, and ultimately contributed to the burgeoning success of yogurt drinks.
Greek yogurt “introduced consumers to the possibility of variety, in terms of flavor, texture, and function,” the report says. Nearly half of U.S. yogurt consumers say they buy it for digestive health, while 35 percent like that it’s affordable, according to the Mintel survey.
Overall, yogurt — and yogurt drink — sales are projected to rise 3 percent this year to $9.1 billion. The breakfast food is also increasingly being consumed at different times of the day, which bodes well for drinkable varieties. Among Americans who consume yogurt, 84 percent say they eat (or drink) it as a morning snack, up from 37 percent two years ago, Mintel said.
“A growing acceptance of yogurt as a snack creates huge opportunity for the market,” said Beth Bloom, a senior analyst Mintel. “As adoption of yogurt drinks grows, so too does innovation.”
Yogurt isn’t the only item that’s having to adapt in the name of convenience. An earlier study by Mintel found millennials are increasingly avoiding cereal because it requires too much effort. Roughly 40 percent of those surveyed said “cereal was an inconvenient breakfast choice because they had to clean up after eating it,” according to the New York Times. As a result, cereal sales have slipped by nearly 30 percent since 2000.
And millennials are also increasingly turning their back on bar soaps because they say it’s inconvenient when compared to liquid varieties, Mintel reported in August.
“Convenience is the one thing that’s really changing trends these days,” Howard Telford, an analyst at market research firm Euromonitor, told The Washington Post last year.