Friday, June 3, 2016

National Frozen Yogurt Month: Reflections on the froyo industry

Fro-yo girl here. It’s June which means National Frozen Yogurt Month is back! In fact, National Frozen Yogurt Month is now celebrating its 23rd year. Frozen yogurt is far from new and it’s not a fad either. A fad peaks early and declines very quickly; it is short-lived like the cronut, roti buns or shaved snow/ice. As you can see from Google Trends, interest in frozen yogurt does peak during the summer months but that interest is gradually falling as the frozen yogurt industry has reached the maturity stage of the product category life cycle. The peak occurred in 2012-2013. Note how the cronut has the classic pattern of a fad. It peaked and faded quickly.

Interest in frozen yogurt as measured by search volume remains greatest in the US, followed by Canada, Greece, Denmark, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Consolidation began in the frozen yogurt industry a few years back and it’s continuing today as larger players buy regional and smaller chains and competitors leave the market. In the maturity stage, the industry mostly has larger, well-established competitors. For frozen yogurt, that’s Menchie’s, Yogurtland, Orange Leaf, sweetFrog, Yogen Fruz, etc. Companies can encourage frozen yogurt consumption by targeting new users like the vegan/dairy-free crowd or increasing consumption among current customers through promotions and loyalty programs. It’s also a good time to improve product quality. I’ve noticed that in Australia, many of the frozen yogurt shops are emphasizing the quality of their frozen yogurt.

Frozen yogurt has something going for it that food fads like cronuts, shaved ice and roti buns don’t have. First, it has a health halo thanks to the live and active cultures and lower fat content than ice cream. People can eat frozen yogurt often and not feel guilty about it. Second, frozen yogurt is versatile. It can be a snack or a meal any time of day. Third, frozen yogurt shops are a place to socialize. Frozen yogurt shops are a good place to go for a treat after dinner, on a date or hanging out with friends.

Looking at the future of froyo, I’d like to see:
  • a greater emphasis on frozen yogurt quality not quantity
  • unique flavors and offerings
  • smaller cup sizes for counter serve shops

Shops that survive should offer something unique rather than be just like the frozen yogurt shop down the block. If froyo servings were smaller (e.g., 3-5 ounces), I could have froyo more often, like after dinner or after lunch. Even with the self-serve places I’m tired of HUGE cups.

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

Looking for more frozen yogurt news, discussion boards, and resources? Check out the International Frozen Yogurt Association website at The IFYA is the independent voice of the frozen yogurt industry.

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