58 percent of adults in the U.S. eat yogurt an average of 7.5 times per month.

Yogurt is a dairy product produced by the bacterial fermentation of the lactose component of cow’s milk that has been heated to high temperatures. It is available in nonfat, low fat, and full fat varieties, and because yogurt comes in so many flavors, it appeals to every member of the family.?

According to Mintel, some 58 percent of adults in the United States eat yogurt an average of 7.5 times per month. And yogurt is even more appealing to consumers when it comes in the form of a parfait. According to The Food Channel’s Top 10 Breakfast Trends, in place of a big, heavy breakfast, many people are doing the “breakfast two-step,” meaning they are first fueling up on caffeine and then supplementing with protein a little later in the morning; yogurt parfaits are the perfect protein-packed choice to hold them over until lunch.

Market Demands

Some 95 percent of Americans perceive yogurt as very or somewhat healthy, and more and more people are trying to include yogurt in their daily diets. Those sentiments have translated into a significant increase in yogurt sales during the past several years.

According to the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade’s (NASFT) 2011 “State of the Specialty Food Industry” report, yogurt is one of the trade’s fastest growing categories. It jumped 61.5 percent in sales between 2008 and 2010, reaching $1.1 billion. The yogurt category also experienced the industry’s highest unit-sales growth during the same time period—an increase of 70.7 percent.

Additionally, Greek yogurt sales in particular have seen tremendous growth over the past six years, from 4 percent of the market share in 2008 to 52 percent in 2014.?Yogurt manufacturer Chobani?has played a very important part in this development as they found the right approach to American consumers’ taste with their products at the right time.

Health Benefits

Few foods help meet consumers’ nutritional needs at every stage of life better than yogurt. An average 8-ounce serving of yogurt contains between 8 and 10 grams of protein, or 16 to 20 percent of the Daily Recommended Value. In fact, after culturing, the amount of protein in yogurt often exceeds that of milk, and it is so protein dense that the USDA’s school meals program now considers it a meat alternative.

Yogurt is also an excellent source of calcium; some yogurts contain up to 35 percent of the Recommended Daily Intake for calcium. Yogurt is low in fat and high in certain minerals and essential vitamins as well, including riboflavin B2, vitamin B12, phosphorous, and potassium.

In addition, the many live active cultures found in yogurt have been shown to help:

  • Aid in digestion
  • Prevent osteoporosis
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Strengthen immunity
  • Support weight loss

Researchers are also exploring how yogurt may help play a role in reducing cholesterol levels and preventing certain diseases. More research is needed, but so far, the results are promising.

Add Ins

Yogurt is undoubtedly healthy, but sometimes it needs to be “dressed up” in the form of a parfait to truly pique consumers’ interest—especially when its fighting for attention with your bakery’s other temptations. Fresh fruit has always been a popular standard for yogurt parfaits. But now, bakeries are also adding mix-ins like honey and granola.

Some other popular parfait add ins include:

  • Chocolate
  • Cinnamon
  • Coconut
  • Dried fruit
  • Graham crackers
  • Maple syrup
  • Nuts

Look around your bakery seasonally. Chances are you will be able to incorporate many of the ingredients you already have into delicious yogurt parfaits.

Menu Items

Bakeries around the country are capitalizing on the popularity of yogurt parfaits and getting creative with them in the process. Here is a sampling of what is currently on some bakeries’ menus:

  • Greek yogurt topped with granola, cut-to-order fresh fruit, and a honey drizzle (B Cup Café in New York City)
  • Coconut yogurt with homemade granola and fresh berries (Mud Pie Vegan Bakery & Coffeehouse in Kansas City)
  • Cheesecake yogurt with strawberries and graham cracker crumbles (La Madeleine Café in Dallas)

And lastly, variety is the spice of life at The Granola Bar in Connecticut. It gives customers a choice of yogurt with three layered toppings, sauces, or spreads. Sauces and spreads include berry compote, honey, chocolate sauce, Nutella, almond butter, balsamic drizzle, and whipped cream. Fruits include apples, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, grapes, raisins, dried cranberries, and pineapples. These create-your-own yogurt parfaits invite consumers to build their own perfect meals.