- Lifeway Foods, Inc. is expanding its portfolio of probiotics products with four new varieties of whole milk kefir.
- Lifeway is targeting the new products at consumers who enjoy a thicker, creamier texture of milk and who recognize the potential health benefits of full-fat dairy.
- These whole milk varieties are in addition to the company's low-fat and non-fat versions of kefir milk products, so Lifeway is increasing consumers' choices to encourage more interest in the growing probiotics market. The U.S. market for probiotics is rapidly expanding, where growth is estimated at a 6.9% CAGR from 2012 to 2020, according to Grand View Research. That market is expected to reach $46.55 billion by 2020, a MarketsandMarkets report showed.
Lifeway is banking on recent research that shows health benefits of full-fat dairy products, such as satiety to promote weight loss, while also disproving the long-held belief that whole milk increases consumers' risk for heart disease and Type II diabetes. As recognition of this new research spreads, more people are buying whole milk again. Lifeway is providing whole milk versions of its probiotic-rich kefir to capture that audience looking for a more functional full-fat dairy product.
This is another step away from the previous consumer diet trend, wherein consumers decried fat, calories, and sugar in foods. Those concerns made way for the massive diet foods market, including non- and low-fat brands and product varieties. Between 1975 and 2014, whole fat milk sales took a nearly 61% plunge, while 2% milk sales rose almost 106%. Varieties of 1% and skim milk also saw sales soar by about 170% and 156%, respectively, according to the USDA.
Consumers' health concerns today have shifted away from an obsession with low-fat as research shows health benefits of certain types of dietary fats. Whole milk has a chance to make a comeback as more manufacturers recognize the increasing demand for full-fat dairy.