But now, dairy is falling out of favor as those same health-conscious shoppers move toward plant-based products.
We also have far more options now for healthy (or healthy-seeming) grab-and-go snacks, as startups multiply and food leaders from PepsiCo to Kellogg’s pour hundreds of millions into the segment.
Investors are backing longer-term threats including:
Pea protein: Pea protein startup Ripple Foods even recently launched a line of dairy-free Greek yogurts, showing how the space is already changing.
Bottled meals: Soylent, Iconic, Apres, and other startups offer even more convenient alternatives to yogurt.
Butter coffee: Between JAB’s war on Nestle and VC excitement, coffee startups have been taking off, and more are offering blended coffee drinks that try to fill people up with calories and caffeine. High-protein coffee drinks, like those launched by Sunniva, could eat into yogurt’s market.
Low-calorie ice cream: Following Halo Top’s boom, startups and incumbents alike have tried to launch their own healthy frozen dessert products. Growth here could reduce people’s interest in yogurt as a healthy sweet alternative.
Is there hope for “big yogurt”?
Today’s producers could consider introducing new product formulations, like pea protein-based yogurt. Reducing yogurt’s dairy content could help brands expand in Asia, where lactose intolerance is common.
They could also take advantage of startups like MycoTechnology (backed by Kellogg’s venture fund, among others), which designs mushroom protein ingredients to help brands reduce sugar.
Further out, they could work with startups like Perfect Day, which aims to provide animal-free, lab-grown dairy.
By partnering with trendy granola startups, or biotech startups like Apeel that help preserve fruit pieces, companies could offer yogurts with healthier and more unique mix-ins.
Or, we could see traditional yogurt added to new food products, like yogurt-dipped snacks, yogurt-based butter coffee, and more.