Chobani Probiotic Yogurt
Chobani is jumping on the probiotic trend with three new lines of yogurt products that claim to boost gut health and immunity.
The privately owned company is the leading manufacturer of Greek yogurt, but is expanding its product offering as yogurt consumption stagnates and oat milk, yogurt and coffee creams added to its range last year. According to data from Euromonitor International, yogurt sales in the US in 2019 had decreased by about 1% since 2015.
Chobani is trying to deepen his association with probiotics, which are live bacteria and yeasts that can have health benefits when ingested. Chobani's Greek yogurt already has some probiotics in it, but the live microorganisms are at the heart of the company's latest products.
"Over the past few years we've added more probiotic language to our regular cups, and we wanted to bring probiotics closer to our brand," said Peter McGuinness, president and chief operating officer.
According to Nielsen, dietary supplements make up the majority of probiotics sales. The recent growth in fermented foods like kimchi and kombucha shows a growing interest in eating and drinking probiotics. And large food conglomerates are trending. Two years ago, General Mills' venture arm invested in GoodBelly's parent company, which makes probiotic juices and shots.
Nielsen says retail sales of probiotic yogurt have increased since 2019, reaching $ 2.07 billion in the 52-week period ending Nov. 28. Segment sales rose by 6.6% in the same period. Chobani's main competitor in the probiotic yogurt market is Danones Activia, which markets itself for indigestion relief.
"We're not going to sit here and market against Activia," said McGuiness. "I think that's a little ball and just a shift in stake. We happen to think it's a superior product over Activia … but we're not going to market it that way."
In his opinion, Chobani's main goal is long-term growth in the yogurt category and an increase in yogurt consumption per capita. More and more consumers are eating at home due to the coronavirus pandemic that boosted yogurt sales this year. McGuinness said retail sales of Greek yogurt rose 6% to 7% in the past 13 weeks, and Euromonitor data predicts the U.S. yogurt market will grow 11% this year, up from retail sales by 10 Billion USD.
Chobani's new probiotic products include yogurt mixes and yogurt-based beverages that will ship to retailers in December. The company has also developed versions for children that come in beverages and sachets. At $ 1.49 per cup for a yogurt, prices are similar to the Greek yogurt.
Chobani has already released fermented plant-based drinks under the probiotic line. Functional beverages – another fast-growing beverage category – include trendy flavors like ginger and turmeric, which are becoming increasingly popular for their health benefits.
The probiotics used in Chobani's new products include LGG, Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. bifidus, and L. casei.
Most of the research related to probiotics is still in its infancy, but it is believed that it will improve gut and digestive health, and even improve immunity when ingested. McGuinness said the company is working with universities in the US and abroad on clinical trials to better understand the full benefits of probiotics.
"You can rest assured that we are deeply immersed in probiotics not only now but also in the future," he said.