Lynn Stachura Innovation Center for Dairy ResearchBy Lynn Stachura

Consumers’ eating habits are changing, just as diverse populations are increasing, creating unprecedented opportunities for yogurt to grow sales.

First and foremost, wellness will continue to be an important consumer consideration, and consumers will even view good health as a status symbol in the coming years. All the while, challenges such as obesity and digestive issues will be a reality for many. Consider:

  • 75 percent of Americans are concerned about their weight, according to GfK Roper Reports.
  • By the year 2020, 83 percent of American men and 72 percent of women will be overweight or obese, as reported by Shots, National Public Radio’s health blog.
  • 86 percent of Americans connect food to good health, as noted in GfKRoper Reports’ 2010 Health & Wellness Trend Report.
  • About 70 million Americans experience digestive issues, according to the University of Pittsburgh Digestive Disorders Center.

The opportunity here is to make consumers aware of all the benefits of yogurt as they work to manage their weight, stay fit and remain healthy.

Concurrently, consumers are moving away from the three-meal-a-day norm, which means more snacking, and they are on the hunt for healthy, fun and satiating choices. With its protein content, versatility and multiple nutrients, yogurt is in a perfect position to help people achieve their wellness goals even while snacking.

Reimaging yogurt flavors presents another opportunity to realize yogurt’s sales potential more fully. Mintel predicts a 20 percent growth of ethnic foods from 2010 to 2014, and as those of Hispanic descent grow to account for one-fifth of the total U.S. population, there will be increased interest in global tastes.

The above insights came from the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy® Future of Dairy research; you can learn more about these and other opportunity areas by scheduling a meeting with an Innovation Center expert (email In the meantime, here are a few idea starters to harness these opportunities for yogurt:

  • Tie nutritional benefits to specific consumer needs or outcomes.
  • Create more substantial snack offerings.
  • Explore savory flavors.
  • Consider new products with yogurt as a component or ingredient.
  • Grow ethnic product lines (such as Latin, Indian and European).

Lynn Stachura is with the the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, Rosemont, Ill.