The dairy aisle sure has been seeing a lot of changes lately. Despite the fact that milk and cheese are still often regarded as two of the world’s most beloved foods, with each passing month consumers are being met with more dairy-free items in their supermarkets. First it was a variety of dairy-free milks — coconut, almond, soy, cashew — and now, predictably enough, it’s dairy-free yogurt!

This doesn’t come as all that much of a surprise. After seeing the dairy-free market grow with such fervor, as well as the fact that consumers, now more than ever, are seeking clean, allergen-free sources of food, companies began to look for other products to capitalize on. The logical next choice? Yogurt. The yogurt snack sector is huge in the U.S. and is even expected to reach $9.3 billion by 2017. Why do people love yogurt? Well, it has a decent amount of protein, is relatively low in fat, and many brands include probiotics in their product, an inclusion that is becoming increasingly more attractive to consumers.

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Seeing the yogurt market grow in time with the clean food trend led to one logical decision: dairy-free yogurt. And considering, that dairy-free yogurt can most certainly compete with traditional yogurt in terms of protein and low-fat content, it’s a pretty smart launch! Some dairy-free yogurt even has probiotics. In fact, New Hope found that while 73 percent of consumers are at least moderately aware of probiotics, 40 percent of probiotic consumers say they’re seeking nondairy-based probiotics.

Instead of regular dairy products, which may contain an abundance of hormones and antibiotics, consumers now have a healthy, transparent choice they can feel good about. No wonder a Kantar Shopper Study estimated that the dairy-free yogurt market will reach 2.9 billion by 2017!

Plus, with all of the new products launching, there is something for everyone! Silk, for example, has released six flavors of their soy-based yogurt, including Strawberry, Blueberry, Black Cherry, and Vanilla, perfect for those allergic to nuts. And for those who are looking to cut soy out of their routines, in addition to dairy, there is Almond Dream’s yogurt, So Delicious’ coconut milk version, and even one with live cultures just like regular dairy yogurt courtesy of Kite Hill.

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In addition to their health, consumers have the added perk of knowing they are making an environmentally-friendly choice when they opt for dairy-free. Dairy production accounts for a startling amount of carbon emissions and uses an obscene amount of water, making dairy-free yogurts a bit of a no-brainer when it comes to making the more sustainable choice.

With dairy-free yogurt becoming a clearly healthier and more sustainable option, we think this segment of the industry will be just as successful as dairy-free milk has been, if not more. What a delicious way to #EatForThePlanet.

Image Source: Veganbaking.net/Flickr

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