- Califia Farms is introducing a new line of non-dairy yogurt drinks with added probiotics. Similar to its nut milks, the new line will be plant-based.
- The company said four flavors will initially be available this spring: Strawberry, Super Berry, Mango and Unsweetened plain. All of these drinks will be available in 25.4-ounce bottles with an MSRP of $5.49. The three fruit-flavored products also will be for sale in an 8-ounce format for $2.69. Each drinkable yogurt will be made with the Califia Culture Blend, which contains 10 billion live, active probiotics.
- "Increasingly, consumers are realizing the importance of probiotics because of their enormous digestive and immune health benefits," says Greg Steltenpohl, CEO ofCalifia Farms. "And until now, there hasn't been a non-dairy yogurt that delivers the delicious taste and creamy texture people want."
Califia Farms entered the already crowded plant-based milk space to become one of the fastest-growing natural beverage companies in the U.S. If the company’s history is any indication of its future, it could have a significant impact in the drinkable yogurt market, too.
Yogurt drinks are getting more popular each year, with sales increasing 62% from 2011-2016, according to Mintel. There also is emerging innovation within this category, especially with non-dairy options. As this category becomes more popular, this could be a perfect time for Califia to launch its new line of drinkable yogurts.
Demand for probiotics is part of what’s driving interest in yogurt drinks. Consumer awareness of probiotics has increased dramatically during the past decade — thanks in part to huge advertising campaigns from Danone’s Activia and other yogurt brands. BCC Research projects the probiotics market will grow to $50 billion globally by 2020 from $32 billion in 2014.
There is already a wide selection of drinkable yogurts in the dairy case, but few that are plant-based. Popular Icelandic yogurt maker Siggi’s offers a simple ingredient option, while recently rebranded Chobani sells a Greek yogurt version. Kite Hill sells an almond milk-based yogurt drink with added probiotics that most closely resembles the product line Califia will soon be introducing. However, the plant-based options here are far outweighed by the dairy-based ones.
Traditional yogurts, such as General Mills’ Yoplait brand, have struggled as new low-sugar, high-protein, simple ingredient competitors moved in. Overall, yogurt sales in the U.S. have been relatively flat at roughly 3.4 billion pints annually from 2014 to 2016, according to data from Statista. The North American yogurt market is projected to reach $14.59 billion by 2024, according to Transparency Market Research. If Califia's new drinkable yogurt proves to be a hit, General Mills, Danone or other players in the space could opt to do more in this area on their own, or go and purchase the young upstart.
Consumers not only want a different kind of yogurt than they did 10 or 15 years ago; they also are eating it at a different time of day. Yogurt makers, such as Noosa, have found success by jumping into the growing mix-in yogurt market, pairing its Australian-style product with toppings such as granola, nuts and chocolate. These mix-ins allow the company to compete for consumers throughout the day, and give it access to the growing snacks market. Mintel reported two years ago that 84% of consumers choose yogurt as an afternoon snack, compared to 41% in 2014.
Considering millennials are the age group most interested in probiotic foods and beverages, while simultaneously being big into snacking, plant-based drinkable yogurt could be the next food product they toss into their reusable lunch sack before heading to work.