Yoghurt’s rise in popularity can be attributed to its highly nutritional properties, including calcium, essential vitamins A, B12 and riboflavin, as consumers become increasingly conscious of clean eating and wellness. COVID-19 offered an opportunity for manufacturers to reinvigorate the image of drinking yoghurt among consumers as a strong immune system became paramount when making product choices.
Plant-based yoghurt has been a rather niche product in New Zealand, despite growing demand for vegan yoghurt choices as local New Zealand consumers increasingly embrace the flexitarian lifestyle. The increasing popularity of plant-based yoghurts can be attributed largely to a consumer desire to align purchase choices with social consciousness and environmental sustainability.
The Collective NZ collaborated with world-renowned chef Peter Gordon to launch a new gourmet probiotic yoghurt range in early 2019, as part of The Collective’s “Chefs for Good” series, the proceeds from which go to charities in New Zealand. This new collaboration includes the extraordinary flavours of Feijoa, Vanilla & Ginger yoghurt, in addition to its Boysenberry flavoured pourable yoghurt, launched in early 2020.
Despite the economic pressures resulting from the measures taken to contain the spread of COVID-19 putting a strain on consumer spending, Little Island is acquiring a plant-based yoghurt business (currently undisclosed) to widen its plant-based yoghurt offerings. The growth trajectory of plant-based alternatives was already significant across packaged food and yoghurt before the pandemic, which has only made consumers even more aware of making better food choices for themselves and the environment.
Epicurean Dairy Limited, one of the leading yoghurt manufacturers, was fined NZD483,000 after failing to report positive environmental listeria results between 2012 to 2016. The Ministry for Primary Industries conducted the investigation, in which senior officials of the company were convicted and fined over putting food safety and the health of the public in jeopardy.
Fonterra Brands continues to lead yoghurt, with its popular Fresh 'n' Fruity brand, followed by Goodman Fielder with its Meadow Fresh range. Fonterra continues to have a pronounced presence on supermarket shelves, which has been key in driving consistent brand loyalty, as consumers flocked to major retailers during the pandemic.
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