Happy Yogurt #4: Market Insights With The Almond Milk Yogurt
The Almond Milk Yogurt, launched in April 2020, is Japan's only 100% plant-based yogurt made from almond milk.
Hello, Market Shakers!
Today, we are very excited to share with you an interview with Kokubu Food Create, the food manufacturer behind Japan's only 100% plant-based almond-based yogurt, launched in April 2020.
Despite being very busy with their promotion campaign, their Marketing Division kindly took the time to share about The Almond Yogurt Milk Yogurt and their impression of the Japanese plant-based market.
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Established in 1712, the Kokubu Group first started as a kimono and soy sauce brewing business, before branching into the wholesale business as we know it today. With a portfolio of over 600k products, the Kokubu Group is present in Japan and over 60 overseas markets, with a strong focus on the ASEAN region since the early 2010s. The group aims to contribute to the development of the Japanese food culture overseas. As a subsidiary of the Kokubu Group, Kokubu Food Create, and its original brand Create, develops new food products based on the concept of health, taste, and happiness.
“Consumers’ health awareness is driving the plant-based food market in Japan.”
Like a few other key players on the Japanese market, Kokubu Food Create noted a gradual increase in plant-based food products parallel to a rise in health concerns among consumers.
Japan is catching up with overseas markets, where a plant-based revolution is in the making. In North America, Europe, Oceania, and beyond, the dairy-free yogurt category has experienced tremendous growth. Overseas, consumers can find various yogurt alternatives made from coconut, almond, nut milks, and more in the largest markets. Japan, however, is a market dominated by soy milk.
Since the almond milk boom of 2017, Japanese consumers have positively perceived almond’s nutritional value.
Looking to disrupt the market with a new product, the food company chose to develop an almond milk-based yogurt. After the increase in popularity of almond milk particularly, with women, the primary consumers of soy-based yogurt, betting on almond benefits was a sensible choice.
The product research and development phase also revealed almond milk has a solid potential thanks to its flavor properties. Mild and nutty, the almond milk would give a gentle flavor to the yogurt, in sharp contrast with soy yogurt that often has some sort of beany flavor to it.
Launching Japan’s first almond milk-based yogurt was a challenging process.
The Almond Milk Yogurt is the first of its kind in Japan, where not even foreign brands have made a market entry up to now. For the Kokubu Group, this meant doing research and development from scratch.
After securing valuable partnerships, the group went through trial and error before getting the recipe and production process right. Made out of carefully selected ingredients, The Almond Milk Yogurt does not contain additives or stabilizers and is only slightly sweetened with oligosaccharides. But beyond the recipe, launching a new product required some hard work in design packaging and brand image, too.
Today, the company works hard to improve its products and increase brand awareness.
Since the launch of The Almond Milk Yogurt, Kokubu Food Create has kept improving product quality and design packaging to encourage consumers to purchase their dairy-free yogurt and come back for more.
Despite the difficulties with opening this new category on the Japanese market, the company stays positive. Overseas markets show that there’s space for more variety, and in time, Japanese consumers will open up.
Kokubu Food Create believes that the food traditions of Japan offer a fertile ground for plant-based products. Traditionally, Japanese cuisine uses a wide range of plant-based ingredients — rice, soybeans, seasonal vegetables, and has, in some ways, vegetarian roots.
See you next week!
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