Ambient yogurt, or yogurt that is stored at room temperature, is a fermented (typically stirred or drinking) dairy product that has been heat-treated after fermentation. The result is a product that is a healthy, convenient alternative to cold yogurt. The absence of live bacteria enables it to be stored at room temperature.
Ambient yogurt has taken off as a trend in China, booming in popularity in recent years. Ambient yogurt was first introduced in 2007. As the category starts to catch on in the rest of the world, differentiation is increasing as new flavor and brand options are emerging across markets.
Meeting consumers’ needs and preferences
The unique combination of benefits that ambient yogurt offers reflect the evolving needs and preferences of consumers. Ambient yogurt offers the benefits of fermented milk products, meeting consumer demand for healthy food options. Its convenient on-the-go format makes it possible to stay well-nourished during busy times, allowing consumers to enjoy the product whenever they want, with no refrigeration required.
Despite not containing live bacteria, ambient yogurt possesses a complex flavor profile and offers safety and taste in a variety of formats. When it comes to nutrition, it is rich in vitamins and minerals with dairy protein content comparable to that of regular yogurt (between 1% and 4%).
“Around the world, consumers are looking for healthy, on-the-go snack options, making ambient yogurt a promising new category in markets seeking healthy options that are also convenient,” says Monika Milej, Chr. Hansen’s Marketing Manager in Central and Eastern Europe.
An exciting new category with untapped potential
Because ambient yogurt is stable at ambient temperature with a naturally long shelf life (typically 4-12 months), it can be safely transported and consumed without being compromised by unstable conditions or unexpected cold chain disruptions. In this way, this category empowers dairy producers to expand their market reach and cut costs on cold chain transportation and refrigerated shelf space.
“There is large untapped potential for this category – particularly in regions where customers may encounter challenging cold chain conditions,” says Thomas Skaaning, Vice President of Commercial Development. “Ambient yogurt reduces distribution costs and complexities by eliminating use of the cold chain. This makes it easier to export and distribute products, expanding our customers’ market potential. For dairy producers facing challenges in growing their cold yogurt market share, ambient yogurt offers a dynamic, accessible new avenue for growth.”
From regulatory perspective many countries define yoghurt as containing live yoghurt bacteria. Since a heat treatment of the yoghurt kills these bacteria, the product is not legally allowed to be called “yoghurt” in these countries. Dairy producers can use alternative labels such as:
• Yoghurt-based product
• Post-fermentation heat-treated yoghurt
• Yoghurt-based beverage
• Fermented dairy dessert
- source: Chr. Hansen
Ambient yogurt – a trendy dairy product avoiding the cold chain