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Greek yogurt is riding high now in dairy departments across America, but what will be the next trend to take the category by storm, and why?
One possibility is that it may not be yogurt at all, technically speaking. "We … recognize that while some consumers want the health benefits of Greek yogurt, they may not enjoy the tarter taste," notes Liza Dube, director of PR and digital marketing at Stonyfield Organic, a Londonderry, N.H.-based maker of yogurt and other dairy products. "We tempt those customers to 'Cheat on Greek' with Petite Crème – a creamy and light, sweet fresh cheese, similar to fromage blanc, that is eaten as a yogurt and contains the same protein as Greek.” Petite Crème comes in Vive la Vanilla, La Vie en Strawberry, Belle Blueberry, Mon Cherry Amour, Ooh lala Peach, Plain & Simple, and Strawberry-Banana Ménage varieties.
Cindy Sorensen, VP business development at the St. Paul, Minn.-based Midwest Dairy Association, similarly points to a cheese product as a potential usurper of Greek yogurt's supremacy. "There is much speculation around cottage cheese," she observes. "Cottage cheese fulfills the consumer needs [of healthy indulgence], and it is a category that is ripe for innovation [in terms of] packaging, flavors, marketing [and attracting] new consumers. We have already seen many new product introductions in this category."
Dube also sees "great new yogurt trends around whole-milk dairy and decadent flavors – like in our new Oh My Yog! yogurt line – growing in popularity as consumers recognize its place in a balanced diet and want something that’s delicious and satisfying." Described by Stonyfield as "a tri-layer, full-fat yogurt with a delicious fruit bottom, honey-infused yogurt center and decadent cream top," Oh My Yog! comes in Wild Quebec Blueberry, Apple Cinnamon, Gingered Pear, Orange Cranberry, Madagascar Vanilla Bean, Pacific Coast Strawberry flavors. Norwich, N.Y.-based Chobani, maker of the No. 1 Greek yogurt brand in the United States, and Müller Yogurt USA, in Batavia, N.Y., have introduced similarly indulgent products to the market.
Elsewhere in the organic segment, citing "exploding" consumer demand for organic grass-fed yogurt, Organic Valley has introduced Grassmilk Yogurt in plain and vanilla flavors, which the La Farge, Wis.-based cooperative says "will appeal to consumers who are looking for exceptional 'beyond organic' taste." The small-batch, minimally processed, non-homogenized product features "higher levels of naturally occurring omega-3 and CLA" and a "more healthful ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids," according to Organic Valley.