Greek yogurt: a success story

“Straggisto” is the most consumed yogurt in Greece, and it is used there in particular as the basis for tzatziki. Originally, it was made from strained sheep’s milk, giving it a thick consistency and high protein content. In the United States and France, Greek yogurt is made mainly from strained cow’s milk, sometimes with cream added to make it even smoother.

Although a part of Middle Eastern culinary heritage, Greek yogurt’s global success began in 2007 when, instigated by a shrewd entrepreneur, it launched on the US market. In less than 10 years, Greek yogurt went from 2% market share to nearly 40% today. In France, the trend really took off in 2012 with the arrival of new market players. In that year, Greek yogurt sales leapt 31% compared to 6% in the previous year. However, even today, this represents just 1% of total fresh dairy product sales.

 

Health food

Its asset: the type of Greek yogurt introduced to the United States has roughly the same fat content as a low-fat yogurt (0% if made from skimmed milk, and up to 2% if extra cream is added), together with almost twice the protein of standard yogurt. So, it benefitted from the craze for high-protein diets and health foods. Moreover, with an equivalent calcium content and high in probiotics, the naturally creamy Greek yogurt is positioned as a healthy and delicious food that really fills you up.

 

The French market

In the French market, Greek yogurt is usually made from cow’s milk, but some brands (especially organic ones) also offer a sheep’s milk version. The milk can be skimmed, semi-skimmed or whole and sometimes cream is added.

It is sold in packs of 2-4 pots containing 100-170g (usually 150g, which is 25g more than a standard yogurt) or in large pots containing 450g or 500g. It can be purchased plain or in honey, vanilla, cereal or fruit flavors.