The dessert itself originates from the north-east of America in the 1970s, trading under the name ‘frogurt’. In 1978, the first mass produced packaged frozen yogurt products were produced, one from Bingham’s based from Boston, the other from Dannon. Although originally ‘tart’ in flavour, the product evolved into a sweeter mixture which became hugely popular during the 1980s. By the 1990s it had reached 10% of the frozen dessert market, but it failed to maintain this market share.
Frozen yogurt reinvented itself in the early 21st century through a return to the original ‘tart’ flavour, differed the product from other frozen dessert products of a sweeter taste. This, combined with a more health-conscious consumer, attracted by the low calorie per portion, caused frozen yogurt popularity to soar over the past decade which has grown despite the tough economic conditions. Such demand spurned growth in revenues from $500m to $700m in the US market alone over the past five years. The major brands have grown rapidly through a franchise system of ownership, allowing franchisors to use the brand and the customer interest it generates.
While the growth of the US market is fairly developed, internationally the frozen yogurt market is still in an embryonic stage. Froyo shops are still predominantly concentrated around major capital cities and have not yet spread beyond into supporting towns. This is most likely a result of the lack of awareness of frozen yogurt as a product as opposed to consumers rejecting the product.
It is clear that many emerging markets have much to offer many frozen yogurt firms as a result of both their growing wealth and the age demographics of their population. As the middle-class in the developing world becomes larger, these people will demand more ‘Western’ luxuries including frozen yogurt. In addition, having demonstrated that the younger generations drive demand for frozen yogurt, these generally younger populations should exhibit a keen interest in frozen yogurt and encourage the growth of brands in these markets.
Frozen yoghurt is the new fashionable trend to hit the UK from America as consumers become more health conscious in search of healthy alternatives. The UK market is expected to reach £25 million in 2013 regardless of the wider economic climate.