Looking At Yoghurt Selections In Singapore

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

Yoghurt is a common dairy product across all consumer age groups, but what factors play a part in purchasing decisions? Patrick Young, Insight Director, Kadence International, shares his opinion.

Yoghurt is enjoyed by almost all age groups across regions, and more endorsed now more than ever due to its probiotic benefits and nutrition value. Kadence International conducted a study with 1,555 Singaporean consumers to find out what trait they look for in selecting a yoghurt brand and why, as well as the influence of health trends upon such selection.

The variety of yoghurt available on supermarkets is widely provided, and each brand and its products are well positioned to target different consumer segments—consumers looking for rich flavour, health-conscious consumers, children and teens and the elderly to name a few.

Taste and health elements are the two biggest reasons why many people are consuming yoghurt. Those consuming yoghurt as snack or dessert prioritise the rich taste, variety of flavours when choosing a yoghurt off the store shelf.

For health-conscious consumers or parents with children to take care of are more drawn towards yoghurt’s health factor, and turn their eyes to plain Greek yoghurt products or those with low sugar, low fat options.

Health-Conscious Trends In Singapore

The focus on health by consumers has been a global phenomenon for the past few years, and it is no surprise in Singapore either. Two-thirds of Singaporeans (66 percent) said they try to eat healthily, but sometimes fall short. In contrast, a fifth (17 percent) reported that they always eat healthily. The final 17 percent of Singaporeans surveyed responded that they do not endorse a healthy eating lifestyle.

When looking into what makes up the healthiest consumers in Singapore, the survey found that there are few differences in terms of age and gender. However, there is one group that stands out—those with ‘prestigious’ professions. Doctors, lawyers, accountants, bankers and engineers are all more likely to say they always eat healthily. In contrast, students are more likely to identify with an unhealthy lifestyle.

Arguably, those in these professions are more aware of the importance and role of diet in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and general health benefits; especially compared to students. Students have a tendency to focus on price, and so put a lower emphasis on health versus value for money; this is in contrast to those with ‘prestigious’ professions who can afford to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Yoghurt Brand Rankings In Singapore

Fig. 1: Awareness and usage for brands—all respondents.

From the general consumers across all segments, age and lifestyle, Meiji was recognised as the number one yoghurt brand, in terms of number of consumers, followed closely by Marigold. Nearly all Singaporeans are aware of both brands (96 percent and 97 percent respectively), and just under half of consumers (49 percent) currently eat Meiji yoghurt; Marigold placed second in consumption rankings (46 percent).

These two brands dominate the yoghurt market in Singapore, with F&N Magnolia and F&N Magnolia 0% Fat significantly behind, taking up the third (33 percent) and fourth positions (20 percent). Nestle Natural rounds off the top five, with 14 percent of Singaporeans currently consuming it.

When asked what imagery comes to mind about the brand, Meiji was seen to represent great taste, a great choice of flavours and was most likely to be considered a brand consumers trust. In contrast, consumers were much less able to associate other yoghurt brands with particular imagery or perceptions.

The strong association with taste and trust help explain the success of Meiji as these are the main factors consumers look for when purchasing products in the category. Taste is the most important driver of consumption for yoghurts. The strong brand awareness of the brands also helps explain why Meiji and Marigold easily gets chosen from the retail shelves.

Contrasting Brand Perceptions Regarding Health Aspects

Fig.2: Awareness and usage for brands—healthy lifestyle consumers.

The fortunes of yoghurt brands change dramatically when looking only at the ‘healthiest’ 17 percent of Singaporean consumers. For those following a healthy diet and lifestyle, Meiji and Marigold are replaced as the most consumed brands of yoghurt by Fage (68 percent) and Chobani (60 percent).

In contrast, both brands had very low levels of consumption when it comes to all Singaporeans in general—only one percent and three percent respectively, suggesting both brands represent a niche yoghurt territory targeted towards healthy consumers.

Both brands focus on their health credentials, promoting their all-natural Greek strained yoghurt and very low fat content. These messages give them clear brand differentiation and resonate with the healthiest segment of consumers; perception of the brand Chobani as one that helps maintain a healthy diet jumps by 30 percent between all consumers and the healthy focused.

This niche group of consumers also felt strongly that Chobani is a good choice of yoghurt for the whole family, although relatively lacking on having a wide range of taste and exciting flavours. Fage enjoys a similarly strong shift in perceptions when it comes to health-conscious segment. However, it shows more positive numbers in having exciting flavours and formats as well as a brand with a ‘buzz’.

The importance of trust in a brand’s health credentials become more important when choosing a yoghurt for the health-focused consumer group, rising from 8th place for all consumers to 2nd place for the health focused.

Two Birds, One Stone—Can Yoghurt Have It All?

Looking at the study results, it seems that taste and healthy ingredients do not coexist in most yoghurt products out in the market today—and this would be an area for yogurt brands to develop their products further.

Chobani, Farmer’s Union and F&N Marigold 0% are all perceived as healthy product choices endorsed by health-conscious consumer groups, but they lack in the diversity of flavours available on the shelves.

On the other hand, Meiji, Marigold and F&N Marigold all provide great taste and wide selection for the consumers, but are perceived as ‘not produced with the finest ingredients’.

Of course larger dairy producers such as F&N or Yoplait already have a number of products within their portfolio to meet different consumer demands. Still, knowing both the general and niche demands and the latest consumer trends according to different target groups would help when it comes to brand positioning, regardless of whether a brand is big or relatively small.