The past several years have seen Greek yogurt emerge as a food industry darling due to both its health halo and because the product has spurred growth in the overall retail yogurt segment. 

“Greek yogurt has injected a lot of new excitement and activity in the industry. It went from being just 1% of the yogurt market in 2007 to becoming the most important trend shaping the industry,” says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts, a market research firm.

In the report The Yogurt Market and Yogurt Innovation, 2nd Edition, Packaged Facts estimates the U.S. market for yogurt sold at retail to be about $9 billion in 2014, up more than 3%. This growth can be attributed to the Greek yogurt subcategory. Greek yogurt accounts for more than half the industry’s dollar sales, and that percentage is rising. However, the Greek yogurt segment has begun to mature and growth has slowed considerably in the last year, down from recent years when it was high single digits or more annually. A likely return to form is, nevertheless, on the horizon.

Recent plans by the U.S. Department of Agriculture will almost certainly bolster growth in Greek yogurt sales. The USDA announced intentions to make Greek yogurt a permanent part of its national school lunch program as a meat alternative beginning in September. The news came after a 12 state pilot program, involving Greek yogurt suppliers such as Chobani, indicated that not only do protein-rich foods have nutritional value, but students show sufficient demand for protein-rich products such a Greek yogurt.

The USDA will accept bids from potential Greek yogurt suppliers for the 2015-2016 school year. It will be interesting to see if Chobani’s involvement in the pilot program will give the company an advantage. Chobani is already a top selling Greek yogurt brand in the U.S. and is often credited with being a leader in the Greek yogurt revolution. The company owned an overwhelming majority of the market just a few years ago, and held some 53% of it when Packaged Facts published its last yogurt report in March 2013. However, competitors have fought tooth and nail for market share. Dannon has significantly closed the gap across its portfolio of Greek brands. And other marketers – notably Yoplait, Muller Quaker Dairy and YoCrunch have made inroads as well.

The Yogurt Market and Yogurt Innovation, 2nd Edition is a comprehensive review of the industry market both in the United States and around the world. Trends propelling industry growth are reviewed, and readers will learn about brands that are making strong showings. Also discussed are: brands which are gaining quickly in the share of the market, diversity in yogurt products, demographics and psychographics of the yogurt consumer, and information on those consumers’ purchasing habits. The report also details new ways in which companies are engaging with consumes and connecting with them in order to encourage further sales.

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