And a nice little surge for the periods ended Dec. 26 and March 27 is reflected in growth figures of more than 5%.
These figures, from Information Resources Inc., represent food, drugstore, and mass merchandiser stores other than Wal-Mart. They do not include foodservice or convenience store sales.
Now if these tallies aren't enough, take a look at what yogurt drinks are doing. Yes, this is a small subcategory, with just about a $100 million in sales each year, but it's still growing at rates of more than 20% to 40% each quarter by both unit and dollar measurements.
An even smaller niche market is probiotic shots. While these are big in Europe and Japan there's been much debate about whether consumers in the U.S., so used to being "supersized", would ever take to the little yogurt drinks that are densely packed with nutrients. Dannon's DanActive must account for the vast majority of the probiotic shots that are sold here.
Well, according to a recent market study The U.S. Market for Cultured Dairy Products, published by Packaged Facts, there is little to debate. The market for probiotic shots grew from about $400,000 a year in 2000 to more than $7.8 million in 2004. The study predicts that it will hit nearly a half billion dollars by 2009.
Finally, we look at cottage cheese. Not quite as sexy as yogurt, but IRI sales numbers for the category are down just a bit for the 52 weeks leading up to May 15. Most of the top brands actually slipped in terms of unit sales, but the exception is Breakstone Cottage Doubles which drove sales thanks to its innovative fruit and cheese pairings.