Does the success of Califia Farms Plant Based Yogurt Drinks Signal a Market Opportunity?


Dive brief:

  • Califia Farms’ line of probiotic dairy-free yogurt drinks, launched in February 2018, is now the brand’s most accepted product with a 60% distribution gain over the past 12 weeks compared to the same period it a year ago. according to Food Navigator. The drink is now sold in 7,000 cross-channel stores in 47 states.
  • Yogurt drinks are available in multiple and single servings in four different flavors: strawberry, super berry, mango, and plain unsweetened. It took over two years to develop the product, so he found a balance between taste and probiotic benefits.
  • Califia Farms CEO and Co-Founder Greg Steltenpohl said the company’s success in the plant-based dairy industry “represents a real tipping point for the future of the category.” He told Food Navigator “it normally takes several years for new products to incubate in natural and specialty stores before they are picked up by mainstream retailers,” but Califia got there in less than a year.

Dive overview:

Califia Farms has entered the already crowded plant-milk space to become one of the fastest growing natural beverage companies in the United States This year the company has proven itself again and successfully entered the drinkable yoghurt market.

The warm reception of the products is not surprising since plant-based dairy alternatives are no longer niche. Sales of non-dairy milk in the United States have grown 61% over the past five years, reaching about $ 2.11 billion in 2017. But in the yogurt drink category, California’s growth is notable. .

The drinkable yogurt market is a bit more difficult than the broader plant-based beverage industry due to the variety of players and offerings – such as Danone, Lifeway, KeVita, Siggi’s and Good Karma, which are already producing milk. kefir, kombucha and dairy products. plant-based yoghurt drinks.

Despite this host of competition, California has seen room for growth. The drinkable yoghurt category is the fastest growing among all other breakfast categories, with the segment growing 19.9% ​​from $ 760 million in 2016 to $ 911 million in 2017, according to a company press release. Packaged Facts also predicts that the drinkable yogurt market will grow a further 13% by 2022.

Still, California will likely have to tread lightly knowing that going forward, taste will continue to be a primary concern. A recent Cargill study showed that taste matters in the dairy department, and to stand out as a plant-based alternative, companies are going to need to scientifically design flavors that are comparable to dairy products.

As consumers understand more about the impact of hormones and enzymes, like the effect of lactose on individual consumers, people are looking for alternatives to traditional milk. The problem is, when yogurt probiotics are added to the mix, it is difficult to create an element that maintains the integrity of the texture and flavor of a dairy product.

Steltenpohl told Food Navigator that “the problem with plant-based ingredients is that they contain a lot of other components that are generally not as palatable in liquid form.” found the answer with a special Califia Culture Blend strain BB-12, which the company says is well known for boosting digestive health and maintaining taste.

People react favorably to their recipe. Not only is their market share in the drinkable yoghurt category increasing – in six months their distribution has already increased by 60% – but the company enjoys leading financial backing which it uses to continue research and innovation to become “the leading plant-based food and beverage company of the future.” Although it is off to a good start, California will have to fight to maintain its advantage in the growing plant market and hyper-competitive.

About Thomas B. Countryman

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