A decade after it began its climb into the public consciousness, organic remains an impressive trend in the yoghurt and pot desserts market.
Growing well ahead of the total category, the organic yoghurts sector jumped a significant 19% in the past year and is now worth £101m [ACNielsen MAT to January 28, 2006].
Organic yoghurt brand leader Yeo Valley Organic offers a range of reasons for the sector's success. "There have been several factors behind the rapid growth, including effective product development, marketing investment, increased consumer trial and growing interest in organic food," suggests marketing director Ben Cull. Indeed, the company's strong and consistent development means that it has now become a significant player in the total organic market and is the fifth bestselling organic brand [TNS Worldpanel 52 w/e January 29, 2006].
The organic sector has also benefited from being intrinsically healthy, according to Neil Burchell, MD of Rachel's Organic. "Our research has shown that consumers prefer products that are naturally rich in vitamins as well as Omega-3, rather than products that have had these artificially added," he says.
The rise and rise of organic is good news for the total yoghurt and pot desserts market because, albeit from a small base, it is helping bring value back to the fixture.
"When we introduced Rachel's we thought it might stunt Yeo Valley's growth, but this has not been the case - the brands seem to complement each other," says Steve Dixon, Nisa-Today's trading controller for chilled.
"This is good news, as we can add some much-needed value to the category. Instead of hacking prices down to silly levels, as the multiples seem to want, we are getting a more discerning consumer shopping the fixture."
The challenge for the future is to sustain the momentum by attracting non-organic consumers to come on board and switch from other brands. And it looks as though the specialists will be left to get on with it on their own, with the bigger companies seemingly reluctant to move in on their territory.
Both Müller and Yoplait Dairy Crest have previously made a foray into the sector, with limited success.
"Our Petits Filous organic offering did not set the world alight and we have no plans to go into this sector again at the moment," says Yoplait Dairy Crest marketing director Gerry Roads. "We will leave it to the specialists. Organic is a costly area because of the cost of sourcing and, as such, does not carry a great deal of profitability."
Focus on Yoghurts & Pot Desserts (April 2006)