DSM has published a paper investigating the reasons behind rising yogurt consumption in China and provides new insights in how health-conscious, lactose-intolerant Chinese are embracing this dairy food.
Based on a survey carried out in countries such as China, Brazil, Turkey and the US, the results reveal that perceived gut health benefits and added probiotics are driving significantly higher yogurt demand in China than the other countries surveyed.
Moreover, improving digestibility would result in even further increases in Chinese yogurt consumption.
Part of the DSM Global Insight Series, the paper focuses on the main drivers of yogurt consumption in China – a significant emerging market for dairy manufacturers. It reveals the importance of probiotics as the driver of purchase, as eight out of 10 Chinese consumers actively seek a product containing this added ingredient.
The survey also shows that the rising yogurt consumption is heavily influenced by Chinese consumers embracing a healthy lifestyle and their belief that yogurt is good for their overall gut health.
About 76% of Chinese consumers choose yogurt for its gut health benefits compared to an average of 48% in the other markets surveyed including Brazil, France, Poland, Turkey and the US.
Digestibility is also cited by Chinese consumers as the key reason to further increase their consumption of yogurt.
If it was ‘easier-to-digest’, Chinese consumers that have not increased their consumption of this dairy food over the last three years, report that they would eat more yogurt.
Digestibility, as a barrier to increased consumption, is more pronounced in China – where up to 95% of the population may be lactose intolerant – than in other countries surveyed.
“We see that lactose-free and low-lactose dairy is increasingly popular in China. Lactose-free dairy is perceived to be healthier than regular yogurt and addresses the gut-conscious consumers looking for ‘easy-to-digest’ dairy foods”, explains Merel Roes, global marketing manager Maxilact.
“Our survey reveals that Chinese consumers, buying lactose-free, are eating more yogurt than three years ago, compared to the overall Chinese consumers surveyed.”
“They would also increase their consumption if there were more lactose-free options available. This is a great opportunity for the lactose-free yogurt segment”.