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Fro-yo, frogurt, ice-yog – the name comes in many shapes and sizes, almost all of which are ridiculous. But don’t be deceived by its silly appearance, frozen yogurt is serious business. This year the UK frozen yogurt market is predicted to see sales of £13 million, over double that of 2011. Some supermarkets, Asda and Tesco in particular, are seeing annual sales rises of nearly 500%. Increasingly we are becoming a nation of fro-yo lovers. And it looks like the cool snack is here to stay.

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But what is it about fro-yo which makes it such a hot product? As with many fads, the recent craze can be traced to America, where two young Koreans opened a frozen yogurt shop called Pinkberry in 2005. Pinkberry is now an international success, with more than 100 outlets in the US, as well as several in Europe and the Middle East. But in fact, this was not the first instance of mainstream frozen yogurt success. It initially made an impact in the ‘80s, during the health craze which saw the rise of celebrity aerobics videos and ‘fashionable’ sweat bands. Interest in both frozen yogurt and healthy living phased out over the next couple of decades, but now healthy food is once again in high demand (see last week’s blog on the healthy food movement), as is frozen yogurt.

These synchronised trends are no coincidence. Frozen Yogurt offers a far healthier alternative to ice cream, low in fat and high in taste. A tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream contains around 1000 calories, while many tubs of frozen yogurts contain fewer than 400. And the health benefits go beyond low fat levels. Companies such as Snog have replaced added sugar with Mexican agave syrup and offer antioxidant rich varieties such as green tea. While in the U.S., TCBY have unveiled a high-protein Greek frozen yogurt, as well as a high-fibre version labelled ‘Super Fro-Yo’. Many vendors also pride themselves on their products’ pro-biotic qualities. And the statistics suggest that these health benefits are no secret. A recent survey taken by the Daily Mail revealed that 40% of British consumers think frozen yogurt is significantly more healthy than ice-cream.

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But fro-yo’s popularity goes beyond the health craze. Another serious selling point is its versatility. It works well with rich sweet flavours such as chocolate chip, caramel and honeycomb, but is equally tasty in lighter fruity varieties such as strawberry, raspberry ripple, and even with tropical combinations such as coconut and mango (all of which are available through Leathams). UK vendors such as Samba Swirl, Yogland, and Tutti Frutti have capitalised on this by making their products completely self-service. People love adding their own toppings, and can adjust their choices according to their mood. If they’re feeling indulgent they can go for sweets and chocolate sauce, while if they want a healthy option they can choose fresh fruit and nuts.

So why fight it? Chill out. Go with the fro. Based on Asda’s predictions, if sales continue to increase at the same rate, we’ll see frozen yogurt becoming more popular than ice cream within the next 10 years. And with the UK desert market currently estimated at £4.4 billion, that’s some pretty tasty potential.

 

Ben Schroder, Marketing Intern

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