Homemade yogurt dominates as health benefits drive demand

August 29, 2023

While yogurt/yogurt drinks* are an integral part of Indian meals, with a significant 84% of consumers saying they’ve eaten it in the last three months, new Mintel research reveals that nearly half (47%) of consumers are open to consuming more packaged yogurt and yogurt drinks if they offer added health benefits.

“Over the past five years, 19% of food and drink launches in India made functional health claims on the pack. Additionally, in the 12 months leading up to March 2023, yogurt and yogurt drink products with high/added protein claims increased from 9% to 17%. Therefore, multifunctional health claims targeting aspects like immunity, mood, and gut health, could resonate with health-conscious consumers and help brands stand out in the highly competitive dairy market,” said Tulsi Joshi, Senior Food and Drink Analyst, Mintel Reports India.

The research reveals that flavour innovation is a significant driver for 34% of consumers. Mango flavour has seen the most substantial growth in yogurt and yogurt drink launches, increasing from 3% to 16% over the last three years.

“Taste is the most critical factor for Indians when choosing packaged yogurt and yogurt drinks. Brand loyalty is relatively low in yogurt and yogurt drinks, with only a quarter of consumers (25%) considering ‘brand that I trust’ as a top-three factor when choosing yogurt and yogurt drinks. Therefore, offering superior taste and experience can be a compelling proposition to attract packaged yogurt and yogurt drink consumers towards other brands,” said Joshi.

Despite an 11% decline in the consumption of packaged plain/flavoured yogurt, certain varieties have witnessed growth in the past five years. Consumption of plain curd has risen by 15%, while buttermilk has experienced a 3% increase. However, price sensitivity remains a barrier, with 36% of consumers considering price a key factor in their choices, twice the percentage in 2019.

“While some packaged yogurt varieties are gaining popularity, overall, price sensitivity caused by economic uncertainties is contributing to the increasing preference for homemade varieties. Our research shows that homemade curd, lassi and buttermilk have risen exponentially, while their packaged formats are catching up. This price sensitivity is also making premiumisation an uphill task for brands. It poses a challenge for a format like packaged plain/flavoured yogurt brands, as it is the high price, low awareness and lack of differentiation from curd/dahi, thereby, limiting its growth in a price-conscious Indian market,” said Joshi.

A closer look at consumption patterns among different age groups reveals that younger Millennials aged 27-33 are more likely to consume more than four types of yogurt and yogurt drinks (19%) followed by Baby Boomers aged 59-77 (17%). Meanwhile, Gen Zs aged 18-26 has shown the most significant increase in the consumption of packaged lassi (8%) and buttermilk (7%) over the last five years.

According to Joshi, a key to capitalising on this trend lies in reimagining traditional yogurt and yogurt drinks for diverse age groups. She highlights the opportunity to introduce contemporary twists or innovative formats, particularly for Millennials, who have the most extensive repertoire in yogurt and yogurt drinks.

Note to editors:

*Yogurt as a category includes all types of packaged yogurt such as curd/dahi, plain yogurt, flavoured yogurt and Greek yogurt. Yogurt drinks refer to packaged chaas/buttermilk, lassi, probiotic drinks and yogurt-based smoothies.

Interviews with Tulsi Joshi, Senior Food and Drink Analyst, or other Mintel experts are available on request from the Mintel Press Office.

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