New research reveals lack of dairy in kids’ diets is jeopardising their future health

New research reveals lack of dairy in kids’ diets is jeopardising their future health

Key findings from the report:

  • Over 1 million kids are currently in danger of poor development and growth because they lack key nutrients such as vitamin D, calcium and iodine, which are all found in fortified kids’ yoghurts
  • Parents are switching out of nutrient-rich kids’ yoghurt to biscuits, cakes and confectionary
  • Declining awareness of the benefits of dairy and parents offering indulgent yoghurt-containing desserts all playing a part
  • Yoplait is embarking on an education and awareness campaign and is seeking the support of the industry and policy makers

Published today, the ‘Kids’ yoghurt and consumers: a relationship turned sour’ report, commissioned by Yoplait and written by dietician Dr Carrie Ruxton, addresses the 10-year decline in the kids’ yoghurt and fromage frais category, the devastating implications for children’s future nutritional status and bone health and outlines actions needed to support parents.

In the past decade, calcium intakes in children have fallen significantly and just under a fifth of 4–10-year-olds are clinically deficient in vitamin D[1] – to the extent that bone health diseases, such as rickets, are resurfacing again for the first time since the 1950s.[2]  Children need nutrient-rich foods such as dairy, which make a significant contribution to vitamin D, calcium and protein intakes, to support their bone growth and development.  Through its latest report, Yoplait highlights that kids’ yoghurt meets what parents are looking for as an ‘ideal snack’, being nutritious, tasty, filling and fuss-free however despite this, there is a worrying move toward more indulgent and nutrient-poor snacks such as biscuits and chocolate. 

The report reveals that a decrease in awareness of the benefits of yoghurt has caused category decline, as Yoplait pledges to debunk damaging myths around the category by re-educating consumers on the nutritional benefits of kids’ yoghurts. Yoplait’s mission is to be the positive voice for kid’s nutrition in the UK, as well as looking to work collaboratively with retail partners on re-engaging shoppers in this important category.

Ewa Moxham, UK Head of Marketing at Yoplait, comments: “We believe children’s nutrition in the UK is in a perilous state and, unless there is positive change, it will have serious repercussions for generations to come. Unlike most adult yoghurts, kids’ yoghurts are not just full of dairy goodness, they have also been fortified with essential nutrients such as vitamin D and calcium, which are important in supporting children’s bone health and development.  Kids are missing out on the vital nutrients[3] that yoghurt can provide due to incorrect assumptions that the product doesn’t have benefits.”

“As market leaders in kids’ yoghurts, with brands such as Petits Filous and Frubes, we want to be the positive voice in providing guidance on the health credentials of the category.  For 15 years, we have been leaders in the fortification of kids’ yoghurts with calcium and vitamin D.  We believe in the power of nourishing young minds and bodies with wholesome and delicious food, and we understand that encouraging children and their parents to make the right food choices is not only important for their wellbeing, but also for their future.”

The report marks the start of Yoplait’s campaign to champion and educate about the nutritional value of kids’ yoghurt and highlights a potential £150m sales opportunity[1] for retailers over the next five years if these alarming trends and issues can be reversed. We are appealing to retailers to work with us on our mission.

The report will be supported by PR, OOH advertising, social and digital campaigns, a mass sampling campaign, as well as in-store activations. 

[1] Public Health England (2020) National Diet and Nutrition Survey. Results from Years 1-11 of the Rolling Programme (2008/09-2018/19).

[2] NHS England (2022/23), Activity in English NHS Hospitals and English NHS commissioned activity in the independent sector, 

[3] Moore JB et al. (2018) Evaluation of the nutrient content of yogurts: a comprehensive survey of yogurt products in the major UK supermarkets. BMJ Open 8: e021387.

[4] Kantar Worldpanel Yoplait Yoghurts Growth Opp 14/06/23, Impact of family participation on yoghurt value – Households with no yoghurt participation in 52 weeks then begin purchasing in kids yoghurt consistently for 52 weeks