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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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