Where are quark and kefir going next?

Companies are looking to broaden the appeal of these products with new flavours, fresh combinations and enhanced functionality. 

14 May 2019
chilleddairyfunctional foodgut healthNPDsnackingsupermarkets

Food Spark has been all over kefir and quark as trends that have emerged in dairy over the past few years and now Biotiful Dairy has combined the two to create a new range.

The brand’s Kefir Quark with Compote comes in four variants: strawberry and rhubarb, raspberry, blackcurrant and black cherry. Sold at Sainsbury’s and Whole Foods Market (160g, RRP £1.50), each pot contains 17g of protein.

Founder Natasha Bowes says Biotiful developed the snacks to offer an upgrade on functional products in the yoghurt space.

“People are looking for more from their diet… By combining kefir and quark cultures when fermenting the milk, we are able to create something that is naturally higher in protein versus normal yoghurts, as well as having billions of gut-friendly bacteria,” she tells Food Spark.

Berry compotes were a deliberate choice to ensure the lowest natural sugar content, while the flavours were designed to have wide appeal, Bowes adds.

“Strawberry and rhubarb puts a little twist on the most popular fruit flavour in dairy. Cherry is our number-one flavour in kefir, so it was a natural choice to create the black cherry compote. Raspberry combines brilliantly with the creamy kefir quark and blackcurrant’s tartness is a great complement.”

Shaking up old staples

While fruit compote is nothing new in the dairy space, it is appearing in some unlikely places.

Graham’s The Family Dairy has introduced cottage cheese with a fruit layer in three flavours – strawberry, peach and black cherry – and each one boasts millions of live bacteria to promote good gut health, according to the brand. With 18g of protein in each pot, as well as low levels of sugar and fat, the products have just been stocked in Aldi and M&S stores in Scotland, with the range expected to roll out across the UK in the coming months.

Innovation isn’t slowing down on the quark side either. Yaar, a brand that Food Spark highlighted as one to watch at the Natural & Organic show, is unveiling the UK’s first range of chilled quark bars.

Requiring no spoon, there are three editions in the range. Two are launching into Sainsbury’s – cloudberry, vanilla – and all three have secured a listing at Whole Foods, including toffee (RRP 99p).

Each bar is made of quark and coated in either a Belgian milk chocolate, caramel or toffee glaze. The centre has a thick and creamy taste like yoghurt and the texture of a cheesecake.

Moving gut health beyond dairy

While Biotiful’s heartland is breakfast and snacking, Bowes says the company is exploring NPD in other mealtimes as well as treat-led occasions.

She says the demand for functional foods has seen the kefir market grow tenfold in the past two years as it has reached major supermarkets. (When her brand first launched seven years ago, it was only stocked in health shops.)

Bowes believes gut health will increasingly influence other categories outside the dairy aisle.

“Dairy offers so many benefits, including essential minerals like calcium and vitamins like B2 and B12. Cultured dairy takes this to a next level,” she explains. “We predict this will drive the continued exponential growth in cultured dairy and, inevitably, where success happens, other brands and categories look to follow – meaning there will be gut-friendly food offerings across the board.”

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