”The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.” --Thomas Edison

Yogurt has “something for everyone”--it can be a quick meal for a busy mother, a sweet treat for a child, a diet aid for those trying to lose weight, and a daily digestive, an immunity booster and a source of probiotics. It has been called “the most versatile of all commodities.” This is quite a statement for an industry that did not exist 60 years ago.

Across the globe, as consumers link food, nutrition and health, they are increasingly deciding yogurt can assist their efforts. In Japan, Yakult’s “daily dose” concept has successfully encouraged one to two daily shots of yogurt with “friendly bacteria.” In France, Nestlé’s LC1 yogurt contains La1 probiotics; Nestlé’s scientists have sequenced the La1 genome and can document health-promoting results. 

Danone has marketed a patented bacterial culture, “L. casei Danone” in its Actimel product (known as DanActive in the U.S. and Canada). The main claimed benefit is the strengthening of the body’s natural defenses, with each bottle containing 10 billion of these bacteria.

ther products tout the well-known benefits of yogurt and offer palatability and variety. In the U.K., Müller is the leading yogurt brand, responsible for introducing the “twin pot” (jam and yogurt). Turkey’s ayran yogurt drink, a cold beverage of yogurt mixed with cold water (and sometimes salt), is commonly served to household guests. It has now become popular throughout the world in a carton or plastic cup format. Ayran can be compared to other global yogurt drinks, such as Indian lassi and Iranian dû (which is sometimes carbonated).

Yogurt and yogurt drinks retail at roughly four times the price of milk, a truly “value-added” product category. pf

Anju Garg Holay, NSM Research Inc., specializing in consumer research, new product  insight and global brand growth; 847-912-6398, anju.holay@nsmresearch.com, www.nsmresearch.com