Yogurt has been a darling of the dairy case, expanding in per capita consumption while fluid milk intake continues to fall.
Yet, yogurt has somewhat been pigeonholed as a breakfast food in the American diet. This is different from other parts of the world, where yogurt is consumed later in the day just as often, if not more.
That was one of the opportunities Tim Brown, president and chief operating officer of Chobani, addressed during his conversation with the membership in attendance at the Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) annual meeting last month. Chobani, the nation’s leader in Greek yogurt production, recently celebrated its 10th anniversary.
Brown shared some of the company’s recent innovations, such as yogurt in a squeeze pouch due out later this year and new flavors, including cucumber apple.
“We want to stretch the definition of yogurt as only a breakfast food, or as only fruit based,” he said. “Worldwide, it is enjoyed as both sweet and savory.”
Brown predicts that the American palate is going to change over the next couple of years. He expects people’s preferences to come down in both sweetness and saltiness. With that may come more opportunities for Greek yogurt.
“We want people to use it in a versatile way as they would other condiments. We want people to use it for cooking. We want it to be used different times of the day,” he said.
He also pointed to functional benefits of consuming yogurt any time of the day.
“Those probiotics that help you digest food and that give you energy during the day can also help you sleep at night,” he said. That’s another reason Chobani wants Americans to think beyond breakfast when they think of yogurt.
“We want to stretch the definition,” said Brown.