- Noosa Yoghurt is launching a new high-protein, low-sugar line called HiLo which features 12 grams of protein and 12 grams of sugar per 5.3-ounce cup, according to a release sent to Food Dive.
- The brand uses rBST-free milk with premium ingredients such as wild blueberries and wildflower North American honey. The line comes in six flavors: vanilla bean, blueberry, mixed berry, strawberry, plain and peach.
- Priscilla Tuan, senior vice president of marketing at Noosa owner Sovos Brands, told Food Navigator these new yogurts are targeted at health-conscious consumers rather than performance-focused athletes, which other protein brands typically target.
As the yogurt category evolves in response to changing consumer trends, manufacturers like Noosa are trying to differentiate their products to stand out on shelves.
Last year, Sovos Brands acquired Noosa. Since then, the parent company has ushered in a flurry of product updates to the yogurt manufacturer, including new miniature tubs and blended options to appeal to a wider range of consumers. Now, the brand is hoping to widen its appeal through its nutritional profile.
"When we bought the company, we noticed that it has really just focused on one segment of the occasion within yogurt," Tuan told Food Navigator.
The HiLo line significantly increases the amount of protein in Noosa yogurt while reducing its sugar count. The brand's core line features 7 grams of protein and 17 grams of sugar. Focusing on protein is a wise choice as consumers are turning toward brands that offer functional benefits in addition to good taste. More products —including chips, shakes, ice cream and candy — are touting higher protein to draw in consumers.
The yogurt segment's push toward high-protein paired with low-sugar can be seen in the increasing popularity of some European style yogurts such as Skyr. In fact, as yogurt sales on the whole have dropped, Icelandic yogurt, which contains more protein than other brands, has grown at a 51% compound annual growth rate during the last four years, according to Nielsen.
Adding protein and reducing sugar also opens yogurt to other mealtimes. Instead of remaining relegated to the breakfast table, having a high-protein option helps Noosa target consumers looking for a powerful mid-afternoon pick-me-up or a post-workout replenishment for the on-the-go individual. Accessing these target demographics is critical for yogurt manufacturers seeking growth. Mintel reported two years ago that 84% of consumers choose yogurt as an afternoon snack, compared to 41% in 2014.
Still, Noosa is launching this line in a category with intense competition. In addition to startup brands, Danone North America has introduced a Greek low fat yogurt with two grams of sugar called Two Good while Yoplait has YQ by Yoplait that is made with ultra-filtered milk and less sugar. With hundreds of yogurt options on store shelves and new varieties made with nut butters and oats being introduced, dairy companies are looking for anyway to stand out in a croweded space.
Noosa has benefited by sticking exclusively to the dairy category with unit growth up 1.3% in the last 52 weeks, according to Food Navigator. However, Noosa still has a steep climb to attract consumer attention for its products. Although consumers are looking for healthier options, simply increasing the protein to sugar ratio may not be enough. Noosa released its new product line with basic flavors and standard, spoonable packaging – something consumers are moving away from because it isn't as convenient. Without adding further differentiation, it will likely be difficult for the brand to entice consumers that are not already loyal to the product.