Health benefits, convenience and taste have all made yogurt the fastest growing food category over the past 10 years, according to the NPD Group. With such a rapidly evolving category, it is important to optimize products to meet developing local consumer preferences. The type of flavor and aroma used in the cultured category receives a lot of attention; however, there has been less emphasis on the texture. Yogurt texture is often modified through composition and the type of culture; compensated through the use of stabilizers.
Recent research conducted by Fonterra found that texture plays an important role in the overall liking of yogurts, and must not be overlooked in order to maximize consumer preference. The study also found that consumers have different expected textures for weight management yogurts.
The study illustrates that there is a clear opportunity to maximize the consumer offering by optimizing the textural attributes of the product. Through unique technology and dairy innovation, Fonterra is able to deliver the required texture for a particular yogurt composition, such as increased creaminess and desired mouth-feel in diet and low-fat yogurts.
Meeting Consumer Demand: Less Ingredients, Cleaner Labels
As consumers are becoming more aware of the ingredients in their food, there is an increasing demand for an explanation of what exactly is in their food and a shorter list of ingredients on labels. The Fonterra study found that consumers have a clear preference for milk and dairy derived ingredients compared to other ingredients such as thickeners, stabilizers, starches, artificial sweeteners, gelatins and gums.
When asked the question, “Thinking about the yogurts you normally consume, how acceptable/ unacceptable would you perceive them to be if they contained any of the ingredients listed below,” 98% of consumers rated milk as an acceptable yogurt ingredient, 84% rated gelatin as unacceptable, and 87% of consumers rated gums as unacceptable.
In order to produce yogurts with cleaner labels, using ingredients more acceptable to today’s consumers, Fonterra has developed ingredients, derived from milk, to replace the functionality of stabilizers and additives.
Dialing-Up Texture for High-Protein Yogurts
As the value of consuming more protein becomes more evident, consumers are looking for higher levels within the products they consume. Typically, high-protein levels in yogurt generate undesirable thickness and mouth-coating.
Fonterra’s new range of ingredients enable the differentiation of yogurt textural attributes independent of the composition, allowing manufacturers to dial-up the appropriate product for the product position.
Through world-class innovative technologies, Fonterra is able to deliver the right protein content along with good taste and texture.
Key Fonterra Texture Study Results
Fonterra recently conducted a study of 225 consumers to better understand the role of texture in consumer liking of a product, and the influence of positioning platforms, such as weight management and gut health, against textural expectations. The study included a variety of yogurt prototypes that provided a wide-range of textural variability. Researchers concluded that texture plays an important role in overall liking of yogurts, and that there are expected textures for different positioning platforms.
“For Fonterra, the study was a breakthrough because it confirms the additional value that can be obtained from consumers if the right texture attributes are met for a specific positioning platform,” said Kim Ballinger, Category Manager Cultured at Fonterra. “Texture is the answer for the many yogurt companies striving for competitive advantage in this category.”
Based on the results of the study, Fonterra will continue to focus on providing optimal textural attributes for different yogurt offerings through a range of innovative dairy ingredients. For more information on Fonterra North America, visit www.fonterra-northamerica.com.
Fonterra is a global leader in dairy nutrition—the preferred supplier of dairy ingredients to many of the world's leading food companies. The farmer-owned New Zealand co-operative is the largest processor of milk in the world, producing more than two million tons of dairy ingredients, value added dairy ingredients and specialty ingredients every year. Drawing on generations of dairy expertise, Fonterra is one of the largest investors in dairy based research and innovation in the world. Our 16,000 staff work across the dairy spectrum from advising farmers on sustainable farming and milk production, to ensuring we live up to exacting quality standards and delivering every day on our customer promise in more than 100 markets around the world.