January 29/Rosemont, Ill./Press Release -- Yogurt’s amazing growth over the last decade is a food industry success story and the primary drivers of its strong growth are young adults and its consumption at in-home breakfast, according to recent research conducted by The NPD Group, to determine the sources of the popular food’s growth.  NPD’s National Eating Trends research shows that per capita yogurt consumption has more than doubled over the decade, and now nearly one in three individuals eats yogurt. 

“Although there are currently some marketplace changes in the category, yogurt has shown remarkable growth over the last decade and innovation, like new packaging and Greek-style yogurts, continues to breathe new life into the category,” says Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst.  “Innovation in the yogurt category is just one component. Taking a look into U.S. homes to see the behavioral drivers behind yogurt’s growth helps to round out the story for food marketers interested in either riding this wave or trying to replicate this story in other categories.”

Looking at yogurt consumption in the home, where three-fourths of all yogurt consumption takes place, yogurt has grown at all eating occasions -- breakfast, lunch, dinner and between meals, according to a recently conducted NPD source of growth analysis. Consumers use yogurt as a meal, a meal replacement, a snack and even as a dessert.  Over the last five years, the in-home breakfast occasion has been the primary driver behind incremental eating occasions: 39% of incremental yogurt eating occasions over the last five years have been from breakfast, followed by 20% from between meal snack occasions, and 19% from lunch, reports NPD.

In addition to eating occasions, NPD’s source of growth analysis looked at the age of the eater and found that over half of yogurt’s growth at breakfast can be attributed to consumers in the 18-to-34 and 45-to-64 age groups. Taking a closer look at the 18-to-34 age group, the study identified several dynamics that work together to result in incremental eating occasions. Over the past five years, 18- to 34-year-olds have been eating breakfast in the home more often. Additionally, the number of 18- to 34- year-olds in the U.S. population is up by approximately 6% since 2007.  Finally, yogurt’s share of breakfast occasions among these young adults has increased.

NPD’s source of growth analysis concluded that the combination of more people in the 18-to-34 age segment, more breakfast meals being consumed by this age group, and yogurt’s higher share of these occasions has resulted in approximately 200 million incremental yogurt occasions among 18-34 year-olds since 2007.
“As is typically true in cases of remarkable success, there are many intersecting elements to yogurt’s success story,” says Seifer. “The consumer dynamics behind its growth provide key insights that help identify future opportunities for yogurt and other categories.”