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Yoghurts and Sour Milk Products in Eastern Europe

October 2019

Yoghurts and sour milk products is a category that combines a vast traditional base and forward-looking trends in most countries of the region. Hindered by economic downturn in the regions’ largest market, the category stagnated in the recent years. Still, it saw interesting product development by both mainstream and niche domestic brands, and retained a high potential for growth in several directions over the forthcoming years.

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Key Findings

The category relies heavily on traditional products

Yoghurt and sour milk products is a well-developed category in Eastern Europe. Most countries in the region have their own variants of traditional domestic yoghurts or sour milk products, historically prepared in a certain region. Currently, increasing trend of going back to the roots and switching to more natural traditional sour milk and plain yoghurts is observable in many Eastern European markets.

Category development in the region faced economic constrains

As it accounts for a huge share in total sales of yoghurts and sour milk products in Eastern Europe, economic downturn in Russia seriously restrained the category’s growth in region as a whole. Furthermore, consumption suffered from the Ukrainian crisis and raw materials overproduction in the EU.

Domestic companies remain competitive

While the category is dominated by strong multinational companies, domestic manufacturers often find themselves rather competitive in their respective markets. Eastern Europeans assign greater value to freshness and proximity to production site, which benefits local manufacturers.

Modern retail growth in the region supports the category

Throughout the previous decade, modern grocery retail has seen an impressive growth in Eastern Europe. Still, sales of unpackaged products directly from farmers on open markets remains a common format, restraining the category’s development.

Further value growth is expected in the region

  The category will continue to see growth. Health and wellness, alongside convenience trends will drive new product development. Re-inventing traditional sour milk product will likely continue in many countries of the region, despite reaching maturity in several markets.


Key findings (1)

Regional Overview

Eastern Europe in context
Category growth is restrained by economic factors
Quality and price concerns turn Russian consumers away from sour milk
Historical trends are evident in current preferences across countries
Plain yoghurts see growth in all markets
Flavoured yoghurt remains the main driving force in Eastern Europe
Traditional sour milk products are being re-discovered
Rapid expansion of modern grocery is evident in the region
Urbanization drives distribution trends

Leading Companies and Brands

Market leaders are getting even stronger
Multinationals dominate the competitive landscape
Leading manufacturers put stake on geographical differentiation
Brands exclusive to the Russian market climb up the rankings

Forecast Projections

Moderate growth is forecasted in most countries
Mature state of sour milk products set to restrain growth
GDP growth will offset the negative demographic effects
Eastern Europeans will be paying attention to product innovations
Key findings (2)

Country Snapshots

Russia: market context
Russia: competitive and retail landscape
Poland: market context
Poland: competitive and retail landscape
Czech Republic: market context
Czech Republic: competitive and retail landscape
Romania: market context
Romania: competitive and retail landscape
Serbia: market context
Serbia: competitive and retail landscape
Hungary: market context
Hungary: competitive and retail landscape
Slovakia: market context
Slovakia: competitive and retail landscape
Ukraine: market context
Ukraine: competitive and retail landscape
Bulgaria: market context
Bulgaria: competitive and retail landscape
Belarus: market context
Belarus: competitive and retail landscape
Croatia: market context
Croatia: competitive and retail landscape
Lithuania: market context
Lithuania: competitive and retail landscape
Slovenia: market context
Slovenia: competitive and retail landscape
Latvia: market context
Latvia: competitive and retail landscape
Estonia: market context
Estonia: competitive and retail landscape
Georgia: market context
Georgia: competitive and retail landscape


North Macedonia: Market context
North Macedonia: Competitive and retail landscape
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Market context
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Competitive and retail landscape


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