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May 25, 2018

NOW COLONIZING A DAIRY CASE NEAR YOU

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Change is coming to yogurt culture. Like almond milk, which went from a niche dairy substitute for vegans and the lactose-intolerant to an option so omnipresent that Starbucks is getting in on the action, now yogurt is poised to be the next big nut-milk trend.

And the market is ready to dip in a spoon. Nonstop launches into the (non)dairy case—everything from Kite Hill Greek-style yogurt made with almond milk to Foragers’ drinkable “cashew-gurt”— suggest that 2018 is going to be the year of alt-yogurt.

Take the the success of breakout brand Kite Hill, which has won fans with its creamy, indulgent almond yogurt: Sure, it’s a mainstay at places like Whole Foods. But thanks to an $18 million investment led by General Mills subsidiary 301 Inc., it’s about to be everywhere. Bringing non-dairy products to the mass market is the goal, according to Kite Hill interim CEO John Haugen. “Up to now, taste is what held people back from plant-based yogurts, but now that nut milk yogurt has caught up and there are options available that deliver on taste and texture, it’s time for nut milk yogurt to have its moment too,” he says.

So why alt-yogurt, and why now? According industry research, the category may grow to reach $35 billion by 2020, largely driven by millennials, who are generally more health-conscious and less likely to define “milk” as a dairy product exclusively—and they’re willing to pay for them.

Expect to see a lot of new offerings in the new year, especially those using coconut. While early adopters have been swooning for The Coconut Cult (the wallet-draining $25 raw coconut yogurt has been flying off West Coast shelves since its 2016 launch), now kombucha brand GT’s Living Foods will unveil a “living coconut yogurt,” New Earth Superfoods is launching coconut probiotic kefirs, and Coco Rico is debuting more French-style coconut yogurt flavors. And in January, Ripple will shake things up with a nut-free, completely plant-based Greek yogurt. With so much probiotic-loaded goodness in 2018, the biggest question might be which alt-yogurt to try next.
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