'Worrying signs' the US Greek yogurt boom is over: Sanford Bernstein


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'Worrying signs' the US Greek yogurt boom is over: Sanford Bernstein

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Wall Street brokerage Sanford Bernstein has highlighted "worrying signs" that growth in the US market for Greek yogurt is slowing to a halt.

In a note published earlier this week, Andrew Wood, senior European food and household products analyst at Sanford Bernstein, said while the US market for Greek yogurt is still experiencing growth "the Greek boom is over.”

Since 2007, Greek yogurt sales in the US have gone from small change - accounting for around 1% of total yogurt sales - to big money. 

Low-fat, high-protein Greek yogurt products, manufactured by the likes of Chobani, General Mills, Dannon and Fage, now account for around half of all yogurts sold in the US.

But according to Nielsen data cited by Wood in his note, Greek yogurt growth is slowing, and dragging the wider US yogurt market down with it.

In 2010, the US Greek yogurt recorded year-on-year growth of 162%. By 2013, this figure had fallen to the still significant 41%.

In the year to date, Greek yogurt market growth has slowed to 14%.

In line with the the slowing growth of the Greek yogurt sector, overall US yogurt market growth has also slowed from 10%, to just 3% in 2014.

“Greek growth is beginning to disappear,” ​said Wood, “leaving very little growth in the overall US yogurt market.”

"Inevitably, as the category grew bigger, growth in Greek has slowed," ​said Wood, "but the fall in 2014 has been dramatic."

While disappointing news for Greek yogurt manufacturers, this decline will likely open up the market to similar healthy alternatives.

Earlier this year, market intelligence firm Datamonitor told DairyReporter.com that foreign yogurt concepts inspired by Icelandic, Australian, and Vietnamese variations, were putting pressure on the increasingly saturated US Greek yogurt market.

Datamonitor's Louisa Sabin said that while these products have piggy-backed on the success of Greek yogurt they offer "innovative twists",​ such as exotic flavors, additional health benefits, and different textures.

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