The Frozen Yogurt Trend

Much like in wider FMCG, the frozen dessert market has seen significant developments in recent years and has been greatly influenced by changing consumer preferences for healthy options. The frozen yogurt market is satisfying the growing consumer appetite for low fat, low calorie options while maintaining high quality taste. The market has seen a surge in popularity with a 74% increase in sales between 2011-2013 according to recent Mintel data, and is now worth around £4million. This trend for frozen yogurt originated in the US in 2005 with the emergence of Pinkberry frozen yogurt bars and has become a highly lucrative market in the US, currently worth over £200 million. In the USA frozen yogurt tubs have become the archetypal celebrity accessory, with celebrities frequently being spotted and in the media clutching their “fro-yo” tubs. This is an ideal advertisement for the frozen yogurt target audience of 18-35 year old health conscious women.

Due to the relatively inexpensive running costs and low ingredient costs amounting to less than 20p a tub, franchises have been expanding all across the world. Although in Northern Europe many feared that due to relatively poor weather, frozen yogurt bars would fail to find an audience, a number of franchises have succeeded in the UK as well as seeing notable success in Sweden, Germany, Spain and Greece. In the UK, the Frozen yogurt brands have been increasingly appearing on retailer frozen aisles with leading brands such as YooMoo and Ben & Jerry’s making a particular mark in this category. Ben & Jerry’s recently launched a Greek Style Frozen yogurt which is being positioned as a premium healthy alternative and is capitalizing on the burgeoning market for Greek yogurt.

One concern in the frozen desert market is the inevitable question of whether ice-cream and frozen yogurt can coexist, or whether their propositions are too similar. The UK ice cream market reached £1billion in 2012 according to Mintel data and is forecast to increase by a further 20% by 2017 to reach £1.2 billion. Ice cream has a market penetration of 85% and has an established place in food culture within the UK. It has also proven to be resilient to recessionary pressure as consumers spend more nights in and search for affordable yet indulgent treats. However, the market does recently appear to have been struggling somewhat and between 2011-2013 only saw an increase in sales of 3.9%, a relatively insignificant amount compared to the 74% increase of frozen yogurt (albeit from a significantly lower base).

Despite the health halo which surrounds frozen yogurt, many have questioned the apparent health benefits. Although a cup of typical vanilla ice cream contains over double the amount of fat as a cup of frozen yogurt, the high levels of sugar in frozen yogurt should not be disregarded. Some nutritionists argue that it is easy to consume higher volumes of frozen yogurt, believing it as a healthy alternative and ultimately consuming higher levels of sugar and calories than they would with ice cream.

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