December 13, 2014

23 Frozen Yogurt Industry Statistics That Will Delight You

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Frozen yogurt shops have cropped up everywhere, with fans crowding in wanting to fill their cups with some yummy goodness and candy toppings. But did you know the tasty treat has been around since the 1970s? We have 23 interesting facts about the frozen yogurt phenomenon, so read on.

With relatively low start-up costs, more people are jumping on the franchise bandwagon, and it's paying off big for some. If you're thinking of opening your own store, or you just have an undying love for the sweet stuff, here are things you probably didn't know about the frozen yogurt industry:

© littledebbie11 (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

1. Frozen yogurt sales aren't chump change

While most industry experts consider the early '90s to be the Golden Age of frozen yogurt, it's been experiencing a resurgence of sorts over the last five years. Annual sales increased by 21 percent between 2008 and 2013, generating approximately $2 billion in revenue. Annual sales topped out at $486 million last year alone.

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2. The industry is outpacing the ice cream market for growth

At the same time that the frozen yogurt trend has been heating up, sales of ice cream have slowed down - and it has serious competition. While ice cream still maintained a 54 percent share of the frozen dessert market in 2013, sales increased by a measly 3.9 percent, compared to the 74 percent bump frozen yogurt experienced between 2011 and 2013.

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3. Froyo is franchise-friendly

Starting up a frozen yogurt franchise doesn't require a huge cash investment. As a result, the craze has caught on nationwide. According to research from FRANdata, 40 new franchised frozen yogurt brands set up shop in the U.S. between 2008 and 2013. It's estimated that there are more than 2,500 frozen yogurt stores in cities large and small nationwide.

4. Job opportunities abound

The rapid expansion of the frozen yogurt market is bringing jobs to the communities that welcome the new stores with open arms. According to data from IBISWorld, the frozen yogurt industry employed more than 16,000 people between 2008 and 2013.

5. The U.S. produces a LOT of frozen yogurt each year

After experiencing a slight decline in production, frozen yogurt makers are back at it in full force. The USDA estimates that just over 80 million gallons of frozen yogurt were produced in 2013, a jump of nearly 40 percent over 2012 figures.

6. And Americans can't get enough

Dairy items are a staple of a balanced diet, and many Americans are getting their fix in the form of frozen yogurt. According to the USDA's Economic Research Service, people in the U.S. consume 275 pounds of dairy per capita each year, with frozen dairy products, including yogurt and ice cream, accounting for nearly 24 pounds alone.

7. The West Coast has the most variety

Even though frozen yogurt stores can be found just about anywhere, California holds the lion's share of the market with 33 percent of all locations. While that's not exactly unexpected news, you might be surprised to learn that New Yorkers come in second, with a 14.5 percent share of the market. Florida, Texas, and Georgia round out the top five.

8. Canadians have cornered the international market

Frozen yogurt isn't just popular in the U.S. It's actually a Canadian brand that dominates the market around the globe. Headquartered in Ontario, Yogen Fruz boasts over 1,400 stores worldwide with locations in 46 different countries, and the company continues to expand into uncharted territory.

9. But TCBY still rules in the U.S.

Relatively new brands like Pinkberry and Red Mango have really taken off over the last few years, but it's a perennial favorite that still reigns supreme in the U.S. TCBY, otherwise known as "The Country's Best Yogurt," offers over 350 locations throughout the country, which equates to about an 18 percent share of the market.

10. Many snackers prefer it to ice cream

You can't beat an old-fashioned ice cream sundae, complete with chocolate syrup and whipped cream, but sometimes you just crave something different. A survey from 16 Handles, a New York-based frozen yogurt brand, found that 79 percent of customers preferred froyo to regular ice cream, and 44 percent said they would give up ice cream for a month before they'd forgo their frozen yogurt indulgence.

11. Even though it costs a little more

Instead of charging by the cup, frozen yogurt companies are raking in major dough by pricing their products by weight. That's especially true among self-serve brands, which typically charge between 30 and 60 cents per ounce. It doesn't seem to bother consumers too much, however; two out of three people included in the 16 Handles survey said they'd be comfortable paying $6 per serving for their favorite flavors.

12. Despite being really cheap to make

The ingredients that go into frozen yogurt are pretty basic: there's milk solids, sweetener, yogurt, flavorings, and in some cases, food coloring. While that seems like a lot, it actually breaks down to less than 10 cents an ounce to make, according to a CBS report. That's a major markup for customers who are paying $5 to $7 a cup.

13. Health concerns drive sales

Frozen yogurt, for the most part, is touted as a healthier alternative to ice cream because of its lower fat content and the fact that it usually has fewer calories and less cholesterol. That's just one reason why people seem to love it so much. Going back to the 16 Handles survey, 95 percent of the people who responded said that they'd choose frozen yogurt over ice cream based on their perception of it being a health-conscious choice.

14. But it's not always better for you

By itself, frozen yogurt isn't going to destroy your diet, but that doesn't mean you should be scarfing it down at every opportunity. A 2013 investigative report found that many froyo brands contain a string of ingredients that may not be so good for you, such as carrageenan, which comes from red seaweed and has been linked to tissue inflammation.

15. The temperature can drive sales up or down

It makes sense that frozen yogurt sales would increase when the weather gets hot, but it's actually surprising how much a few degrees difference can make. Vivonet, which provides point-of-sale software systems for restaurants, conducted an in-depth study on how temperature affects sales during the summer months. When the temperature increased by 26 degrees over a five-day period in June 2012, sales shot up by more than $3,500.

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16. And on the weekends

The Vivonet study also looked at which days of the week tend to be the most lucrative for frozen yogurt sales. You'd think that Saturday would be the busiest day since more people tend to be out and about, but it was Sunday that edged out the rest of the competition, with nearly $500 more in sales.

17. Mark your calendars for frozen yogurt holidays

Frozen yogurt has gotten so popular that it actually has its own holiday. According to the International Frozen Yogurt Association, February 6 is traditionally observed as National Frozen Yogurt Day, but it's got some competition. TCBY declared June as National Frozen Yogurt Month in 1993 and named the first Sunday of the month its own National Frozen Yogurt Day.

18. Boston is big on frozen yogurt

Even though California has the highest number of frozen yogurt stores, it's actually the East Coast and the Midwest where you'll find the most froyo fans in terms of sales. According to Vivonet, $70 million worth of frozen yogurt was sold in the U.S. between June 1 and August 31 in 2012, and Beantown lead the way, with nearly $4.7 million.

19. But Cincinnati and Oklahoma City aren't far behind

The two cities joining Boston in the top three likely aren't the ones you'd expect. If you're looking for New York or Los Angeles, think again. It's the Queen City and Oklahoma's capital that finish second and third, with just over $4 million in sales each.

20. Frozen yogurt lovers don't skimp on toppings

Perhaps the best part about eating frozen yogurt is piling on the fruit, sprinkles, and other goodies. As part of its customer survey mentioned earlier, 16 Handles asked how many toppings on average people prefer. Nearly 50 percent said they loaded up with three to four toppings, and a little over 20 percent said they go for four or more.

21. Plain vanilla gets passed up for more exotic flavors

While vanilla continues to be the most popular flavor for ice cream, that's not necessarily the case when it comes to frozen yogurt. According to the 16 Handles survey, it actually ranked dead last behind tart, chocolate, birthday cake, and salted caramel, which was preferred by 30 percent of respondents.

22. Menchie's has the most flavors

Menchie's started off small in the Los Angeles suburb of Valley Village, but it's become one of the more popular frozen yogurt brands out there. Part of the reason why people flock here so much is because of the variety of tastes offered. You've got more than 100 rotating flavors to choose from, including I Dream of Cookies 'n Cream and Uber Fudgy Brownie Batter.

23. But you can't beat Fuzzy Peach for add-ons

Frozen yogurt lovers who are all about the toppings won't be disappointed with Fuzzy Peach. There are more than 70 different goodies you can pile in your cup, like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Girl Scout Tagalongs, jelly beans, and fresh mango. That's nearly 10 more than competitor Yogurtini and over twice as many as Orange Leaf.

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