Just ask Justin Bieber: one minute, you’re flavour of the month, the next, you’re on the downward slide, a casualty of the public’s changing tastes — which is precisely what seems to be happening with yoghurt in Australia, according to the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research.
Over the last few years, flavoured/fruit yoghurt has been gradually losing popularity, as an increasing number of Australians turn to natural or plain yoghurt instead.
In the 12 months to September 2015, 48 per cent of Australians aged 14 and over reported eating flavoured/fruit yoghurt in an average four weeks, down from 52 per cent back in September 2011. We know, it’s shocking, right?!
Over the same period, the proportion of Aussies snacking on natural/plain yoghurt surged from 36 per cent to 43 per cent, closing the gap on its historically more popular flavoured equivalent.
Natural yoghurt’s newfound popularity appears to be an equal-opportunity phenomenon, with more and more of us Aussie folk getting around the trend.
Between October 2010 and September 2015, the proportion of Australian men who ate natural yoghurt in an average four weeks grew from 30 per cent to 36 per cent, while the proportion of women eating it rose from 41 per cent to 49 per cent.
Flavoured vs plain yoghurt: 2011 vs 2015
While natural/plain yoghurt consumption grew among all age groups except young men aged under-25 (who needs them!), the most dramatic increases occurred among men and women aged between 25 and 34 years, followed closely by the 65+ age bracket.
The frequency with which Aussies consume natural/plain yoghurt has also risen over the last few years. Some 23 per cent of natural-yoghurt eaters consume it on a daily basis – almost the same proportion as fruit/flavoured yoghurt eaters who eat theirs every day (25 per cent).
Weekly consumption has grown from 29 per cent to 30 per cent over the same timeframe, just short of flavoured yoghurt (34 per cent).
“While a greater proportion of Australians still eat fruit/flavoured yoghurt than natural, the gap is closing,” Roy Morgan Research CEO Michele Levine said.
“This increased tendency towards natural/plain yoghurt may well be the result of the public becoming more aware of the hidden sugars in so many flavoured yoghurts, or part of a broader move towards more ‘natural’ foods.
“It is certainly noteworthy that Aussies who eat natural yoghurt every day are nearly 50 per cent more likely than the average Australian to agree that ‘I try to buy organic food whenever I can’.
“It is also interesting to see that daily consumers of natural yoghurt are twice as likely as the average Australian to eat all, or almost all, vegetarian food, suggesting that there is a conscious thought process behind their decision.
“When we consider the elevated proportion of daily natural-yoghurt eaters who fall into Roy Morgan’s more gourmet-inclined Food Segments such as Entertainers, Trendsetters and House Proud, it becomes even more apparent that they have specific ideas about the kind of food they’re willing to eat.
“It is essential for dairy brands with a flavoured yoghurt range to stay abreast of shifting attitudes and behaviour among Australian consumers, and adjust their marketing communications and brand image accordingly.”