DUIVEN, THE NETHERLANDS — Dairy processors are well positioned to capitalize on consumer demand for food and beverage products with a strong position as sources of protein, and data from the market research firm Innova Market Insights indicates the trend is well-established in yogurt, spreading to milk-based beverages and may even have an impact in the cheese category.
|Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation for Innova Market Insights|
“Dairy products have always had an inherently healthy image and a perception of high protein levels,” said Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation for Innova Market Insights. “So, it is a sector that has been able to adapt relatively rapidly to this rising interest in protein, in some cases by simply changing its labeling and/or positioning.”
The United States has capitalized on the rising interest in protein content, both overall and specifically in the dairy sector. More than 17% of U.S. dairy launches were focused on protein content in the 12 months ended June 2015, which is well over twice the global average. Yogurt had the highest penetration, with more than one-third of launches marketed on a protein platform, followed by milk drinks with just under a quarter.
Yet, as Innova noted, while one-third of yogurt introductions focused on a protein position in the marketplace is impressive, it trails U.S. Greek yogurt and Greek-style yogurt introductions, which accounted for 57% of total product launches. The data indicates not all Greek yogurt processors are using a high-protein positioning as a key selling point, according to Innova.
In the milk drinks market, performance was initially a key focus for protein beverages, but Innova analysts are now seeing both relatively specialized performance products and more mainstream lines. In the United States, introductions have included an organic version of Hormel Foods’ Muscle Milk protein beverage, Morning Protein Smoothies from Sprout Foods, Plus Protein Dairy Beverages from Safeway and TruMoo Protein Milks from Dean Foods.
“High protein foods are one of the most sought-after nutritional choices of the moment, and the dairy sector appears to be extremely well placed to benefit,” Ms. Williams said. “Yogurts and milk drinks are the current leaders in terms of activity, but there may also be opportunities in other products such as cheese, particularly soft and fresh products.”