The dairy products of tomorrow will help the industry evolve to meet consumer trends and fulfill customer needs as well. By looking at how dairy processors across the globe have adapted, we can see how some products rose to the top.
The case for long shelf life dairy
Ambient drinking yogurts are very successful in Asia and West Africa, and its popularity is now spreading quickly through Latin America. The idea started when Chinese consumers wanted more dairy in their diets. The search was on to find something that could accommodate the regional preference of consuming beverages at room temperature for gut health and the high incidence of lactose intolerance. Also, for a country as large as China, cold channel distribution could not be guaranteed. In West Africa, refrigeration is also an issue. Products are often sold by street vendors. Ambient drinking yogurts checked all the boxes. It has become a convenient snack sensation that can be enjoyed any time by kids and adults alike.
How do ambient drinking yogurts meet consumer trends?
Shelf stability. Consumer demand for shelf-stable milk products rose during the pandemic as practicality became a bigger consideration when making a purchasing decision. Long shelf-life dairy products such as milks, creamers, puddings and desserts have been popular for years for consuming on the go and trusted for their quality.
Healthy eating. In West Africa, where disposable income is low, consumers wanted beverage options that could provide protein and nutrition other than a canned soft drink, which is mainly sugar and water.
Pantry-filling trend/rise of e-commerce. Consumers now make fewer physical trips to grocery stores, preferring to either shop online or make one large trip to stock their pantry for a while. This trend started due to the pandemic but has persisted, suggesting it may become a new shopping behavior.
Reduce food waste. Without an expiration date looming, long shelf life dairy products are less likely to go to waste.
Protein-powered snack. Protein has been a key trend for the past few years. Consumers now seek new ways to incorporate more protein into their diet – especially with a rich and indulgent texture like yogurt.
[VIDEO] Watch this innovation in action here.
What is ambient drinking yogurt?
Traditionally, we think of yogurt as a chilled, spoonable snack. Ambient drinking yogurt flips the script on both counts. It’s a drink that does not need to be refrigerated so it’s easy to enjoy on the go or anytime, at room temperature or cold. It also fits consumers’ busy lifestyles. Consider the convenience of dropping a container into a school lunchbox or backpack for after a workout. Ambient drinking yogurt is a product you can take anywhere. It doesn’t need refrigeration; however, the taste is comparable to chilled yogurt with similar nutritional benefits.
How is it produced?
Ambient drinking yogurt differs from short-shelf life drinking yogurt in that it undergoes a heat treatment after fermentation. This allows it to be stored without refrigeration, with a shelf life of four to twelve months. It also makes the product more versatile, appealing to consumers who enjoy drinking a warm beverage, while still retaining a nice sensory experience when served chilled. The mouthfeel can also be tailored to accommodate regional preferences from thick to thin. Plus, CP Kelco has the multifunctional, nature-based ingredient portfolio, global service capability and technical expertise to ensure your success. For more tips and information, please see our drinking yogurts applications page.
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