Yoghurt and yoghurt drinks are integral to Indian meals, with new Mintel research showing that 84 percent of consumers had said they’d eaten it in the last three months. However, if yoghurt and yoghurt drinks offered added health benefits, nearly half (47 percent) of consumers were open to consuming more packaged yoghurt and yoghurt drinks.
Over the past five years, 19 percent of food and drink launches in India made functional health claims on the pack. Additionally, in the 12 months leading to March 2023, yoghurt and yoghurt drink products with high/added protein claims increased from nine percent to 17 percent.
“Multifunctional health claims targeting aspects like immunity, mood, and gut health could resonate with health-conscious consumers and help brands stand out in the highly competitive dairy market,” said Tulsi Joshi, Senior Food and Drink Analyst, Mintel Reports India.
The research revealed that flavour innovation was a significant driver for 34 percent of consumers. Mango flavour has seen the most substantial growth in yoghurt and drink launches, increasing from three percent to 16 percent over the last three years.
“Taste is the most critical factor for Indians when choosing packaged yoghurt and yoghurt drinks.”
Brand loyalty is relatively low in yoghurt and yoghurt drinks, with only a quarter of consumers (25 percent) considering ‘brand that I trust’ as a top-three factor when choosing yoghurt and yoghurt drinks. Therefore, offering superior taste and experience can be compelling to attract packaged yoghurt and yoghurt drink consumers towards other brands.”
Despite an 11 percent decline in packaged plain and flavoured yoghurt consumption, certain varieties have grown in the past five years. Consumption of plain curd has risen by 15 percent, while buttermilk has experienced a three percent increase. However, price sensitivity remains a barrier, with 36 percent of consumers considering price a critical factor in their choices, twice the percentage in 2019.
While some packaged yoghurt varieties are gaining popularity, price sensitivity caused by economic uncertainties has increased the preference for homemade varieties. Mintel’s research showed that homemade curd, lassi and buttermilk have risen exponentially while their packaged formats are catching up. This price sensitivity is also making premiumisation an uphill task for brands. It poses a challenge for a format like packaged plain or flavoured yoghurt brands, as the high price, low awareness and lack of differentiation between curd and dahi limit its growth in a price-conscious Indian market.
A closer look at consumption patterns among different age groups reveals that younger Millennials aged 27-33 are likelier to consume more than four types of yoghurt and yoghurt drinks (19 percent), followed by Baby Boomers aged 59-77 (17 percent). Meanwhile, Gen Zs aged 18-26 has shown the most significant increase in the consumption of packaged lassi (eight percent) and buttermilk (seven percent) over the last five years.
According to Mintel, a key to capitalising on this trend lies in reimagining traditional yoghurt and yoghurt drinks for diverse age groups. Joshi highlighted the opportunity to introduce contemporary twists or innovative formats, particularly for Millennials with the most extensive repertoire in yoghurt and yoghurt drinks.