yoghurt fruit berries unsplash

Other yoghurt brands have relied on their sustainability credentials to help grow sales

The battle for the heart of the yoghurt category has always been between health and indulgence. And maybe it’s not surprising that a global health crisis would push consumers towards the former.

“The brands seeing the biggest growth have been those tapping into health, such as Actimel and Activia,” says Matthew Fleming, client manager at NielsenIQ.

Those two Danone functional yoghurts have added an extra £32.8m between them, with Actimel  recording double-digit growth – the fastest percentage increase in the top 10. Activia, meanwhile, has claimed the number one spot, pushing the more luxurious Müller Corner to second place.

“Health remains a top priority for consumers,” says Aloys de Parscau du Plessix, head of marketing for Acti-brands at Danone. “We expect this trend to continue, with seven out of 10 shoppers understanding the interconnectedness of individual, family and community health.”

Activia’s success was driven by growing awareness of gut health and its importance in supporting the immune system. That’s also been a key appeal of kefir specialist Biotiful Dairy, which has grown value of its yoghurt range 57.2% on volumes up 70.3%

“Consumers are becoming increasingly aware that the gut is where most diseases start and in turn are looking for ways to improve their gut health and wellbeing,” says founder Natasha Bowes, the dairy’s founder. “Taste continues to be the main purchase driver and so delicious and convenient solutions to gut health are driving demand.”

So, Brits’ guts are healthy – as is the yoghurts & potted desserts category. It’s worth an extra £64.7m, largely driven by price rises and premiumisation from brands.

Better-for-you lines haven’t had it all their own way, mind. Indulgent brands like Gü, Cadbury and Oykos have all registered sturdy value growth.

Gü’s 11.7% increase was driven in part by Valentine’s Day celebrations – “a significant promotional period for us, and one which contributed to significant growth” says general manager Steve Cicognani. OOH and radio activity “ensured that during the final week leading up to Valentine’s Day, Gü had the top three branded chilled dessert SKUs” he adds.

By contrast to Gü’s busy 12 months, “Müller brands such as Corner and Light have struggled this year due to less promotions, which have also been less effective compared to rivals” notes Fleming. They’ve lost a total of £12m.

Other yoghurt brands, meanwhile, have relied on their sustainability credentials to help grow sales. The Collective for instance added a range of carbon neutral yoghurt.

Top launch 2021

Blended | The Collective

Collective Blended carbon neutral

The Collective’s big pot Blended range (rsp: £1.75/450g) landed in September, claiming to be the UK’s first carbon neutral dairy yoghurt. Available in Strawberry & Vanilla, Peach & Mango and Blackberry & Blackcurrant, it’s made possible via a carbon offsetting arrangement with sustainability consultancy Climate Partner. The lineup – which contains about 11% less sugar than PHE recommendations –  is the first step in The Collective’s plan to become a fully carbon neutral business by 2025.

The Grocer’s Top Products Survey 2021: who’s up, who’s down – and our overview of the key trends