In 2015, 48% of Australians ate at least one flavoured yoghurt each month, compared to 52% in 2011. Over the same period, the proportion eating natural or plain varieties surged from 36% to 43%, closing the gap on the traditionally more popular rival.
Natural yoghurt’s newfound popularity appears to be an equal-opportunity phenomenon, with ever-increasing numbers of men and women picking it. Between October 2010 and September 2015, the proportion of Australian men who ate natural yoghurt in an average month grew from 30% to 36%, while the figure for women rose from 41% to 49%.
While plain yoghurt consumption grew among all age groups except young men aged under-25, the most dramatic increases occurred among men and women aged between 25 and 34 years, followed closely by the 65-plus age bracket.
The frequency with which Australians eat plain yoghurt has also grown over the last few years. Some 23% of natural-yoghurt eaters now consume it on a daily basis—up from 17% in 2011—to almost the same proportion as flavoured yoghurt (25%).
Weekly consumption has grown from 29% to 30% over the same timeframe, though still short of flavoured yoghurt (34%)
“The gap is closing,” said Michele Levine, chief executive of Roy Morgan Research, which carried out the survey. “This increased tendency towards natural/plain yoghurt may well be the result of the public becoming more aware of the hidden sugars in so many flavoured yoghurts, or part of a broader move towards more ‘natural’ foods.
“It is certainly noteworthy that Aussies who eat natural yoghurt every day are nearly 50% more likely than the average Australian to agree that ‘I try to buy organic food whenever I can’.”
Daily consumers of natural yoghurt are also twice as likely to eat all, or almost all, vegetarian food, suggesting that there is a conscious thought process behind their decision.