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article imageGreek yogurt sales in US soar 2500% in last five years

By Lynn Herrmann     Aug 24, 2011 in Food
Sales of Greek-style yogurt in the US have jumped 2500 percent in the last five years, with annual sales this year predicted to reach $1.5 billion, an increase making it one of the “hottest growing food products” of all time.
Greek yogurt sales in the US have reached staggering totals in the last half-decade, doubling each year for the last three years. From $60 million a year just five years ago, product sales are almost unmatched. Business Insider calls it “one of the hottest-growing food categories of all time.”
Unlike many yogurts in America’s grocery stores today, Greek-style yogurt is strained of excess water, giving it a thick, creamy and sharp taste. Hamdi Ulukaya, from a family of dairy farmers in Turkey, was not impressed when he first tasted yogurt in the US. “I was just surprised that, there was so much sugar in there. It was so much preservatives and colors,” he said, NPR reports.
Ulukaya did not buy the concept that Americans like their yogurt one way, sweet. Moving forward, he purchased an old Kraft Foods plant in New York and now produces Chobani, the best-selling Greek yogurt in the US, with an astounding 48 percent market share.
If there’s a down-side to the current trend in Greek yogurt consumption, it’s the cost factor. At around double the price of conventional yogurt, some might balk. However, a solid majority who try Greek yogurt don’t look back.
Reason for the rapid increase in sales of the yogurt is simple: consumers focused on their health. Greek-style yogurt promotes itself as being a high-protein, low-fat product worth the extra cost.
As expected, the consumer profile of Greek yogurt is the affluent female in the Northeast US, a valuable consumer group. “You know, sort of what I would envision to be the Starbucks crowd,” said David Palmer, a UBS food industry analyst,” NPR notes. “It’s a higher-educated, higher-income user that resides in the Northeast.”
Phil Lempert, editor of The Lempert Report, a food industry newsletter, said: “Consumers are finally discovering what yogurt is supposed to taste like, without all those sweeteners, coloring and preservatives,” according to the New York Times.
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