Shaping the Dairy Products of Tomorrow Together: Long Shelf-Life Drinking Yogurt

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.

For more information, contact us online.


Stabilizing Dairy Alternative Products with Nature-Powered Solutions

We partnered with Innova Market Insights and Food Ingredients First to share useful insights about the global dairy alternatives market, key challenges when formulating these products, and how KELCOGEL® Gellan Gum serves as a unique, multifunctional solution. Learn more about ingredient innovation with plant proteins in this webinar.

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Plant-based proteins have the market buzzing, with food and beverage innovations arriving frequently on store shelves. But formulating beverages with alternative protein sources—whether soy, almond, oat, pea or rice – can present challenges, especially in meeting consumers’ expectations for taste, texture and visual appeal. We partnered with Innova Market Insights and Food Ingredients First to share useful insights about the global dairy alternatives market, the key challenges when formulating these products, and how KELCOGEL® Gellan Gum–a nature-based, fermentation-derived ingredient–serves as a unique, multifunctional solution in the product developer’s toolkit.


Drinking yogurts are quickly gaining traction around the world due to growing trends in health benefits, new flavor and ingredient choices, and the convenience factor of grab-and-go. 

The rapid growth in this industry has brought many different options for drinking yogurts: dairy and plant-based, short shelf life (refrigerated) and long shelf life (ambient), non-flavored and flavored, responsibly sourced, low sugar, digestive health options and more. While this is good news for consumers, it does provide challenges for formulators. Throw in the need for protein stabilization, syneresis control, suspension of particles, mouthfeel enhancement and clean label ingredients, and formulation solutions can seem impossible. 

We offer an unparalleled ingredient portfolio, global service capabilities and renowned technical expertise to ensure your success. Our extensive research and innovation labs can help you develop new products that reflect the latest market trends and increase consumer appeal.  

Milk is great on its own, but adding flavors like strawberry, chocolate, vanilla or banana make it extra special! As a treat or part of a balanced diet, flavored milk is a worldwide favorite beverage.  

We have years of experience formulating with milk and its unique challenges. We also have extensive knowledge on adding flavors and preparing products for different shelf life levels as well as a variety of packaging options. Our technical experts use our product portfolio to address stabilization, pourability, viscosity, suspension, and texture preferences that work with both dairy and flavors.  

When it comes to adding nutrients, sugar reduction and even fat reduction, our nature-based ingredients can bring back mouthfeel, protect protein, suspend nutrients while stabilizing for a great flavored milk from the first to last sip.  

Want to make the perfect chocolate milk? We’re the ones to ask.  

For classic dairy-based products as well as the quickly-growing dairy alternative market, we have many years of expertise working with different types of protein bases. More than ever, consumers are looking for healthy and convenient products, which can cause unique formulation challenges. Fortification, inclusions, and protein bases have an affect on different areas of the process, from the manufacturing temperatures to pH levels. Every ingredient plays a role in creating the perfect product and we know how to get you there with our nature-based ingredient portfolio and extensive expertise.

Unlock opportunity with a team of experts who offer decades of experience to optimize formulations, function and sensory appeal to any dairy and dairy alternative application.