In the past year 'dairy' soya products such as milk, yoghurt and desserts have become increasingly popular, shaking off their image of being consumed only by health food nuts or those allergic to dairy.

The sub-category has grown solidly in both value and volume terms, following a decline over the previous year. The rise in raw-material costs have resulted in an overall price increase, but this has not put shoppers off. Growing awareness of the health benefits of soya is their primary reason for purchasing.

Soya drinks are helping to drive category growth and have seen a turnaround in performance following a value loss the previous year. Soya drinks contributed £79.5m to this market in the past year, an increase of £2.6m on the previous year. New shoppers continue to purchase soya drinks, albeit slightly less often than regular purchases.

An increase in promotional activity has helped increase sales, with 'x-for-y' and 'extra free' activities proving particularly popular.

Soya yoghurts have gone from strength to strength and have also driven category growth. Despite a noticeable uplift in average price and reductions in promotional activity this year, the number of shoppers purchasing soya yoghurts continues to grow along with the frequency of purchase.

Health has not been the only motivation for consumers - indulgence has also been a key trend, boosting sales of luxury variants.

Compared with your average dairy milk or yoghurt shopper, the soya milk or yoghurt shopper is more affluent, slightly older and more likely to live within a post-family household.

All the major retailers have experienced value growth within the 'dairy' soya market. Tesco and Sainsbury's have made a positive turnaround and been particularly strong in value sales over the past year, controlling over half of the market. Both have experienced double-digit growth and are noticeably over-trading. Meanwhile, Waitrose continues to perform solidly due to its appeal to more affluent, post-family shoppers.

Jenny Halll, TNS Worldpanel