According to Global Industry Analysts, global dairy industry's rapid growth is attributed primarily to the advent of functional products with characteristics such as low-sugar, low-fat, cholesterol-reducing and favorable impact on digestive health. Among all functional foods, yoghurt is considered an ideal medium for delivery of beneficial functional ingredients. Over the years, the market has witnessed a shift from conventional spoonable products towards yogurt drinks, as well as products that are specifically targeted at children. In addition, demand for organic yogurt products with natural ingredients is also on the rise. Innovative and premium products such as bio yogurts or yogurts enriched with juice and fruits are also finding favor among consumers. The global yogurt market is characterised by intense competition prompting leading players to differentiate themselves by focusing on health benefits, branding, and incorporation of ingredients (namely fruits). Key players include Arla Foods UK, General Mills, Groupe Danone, Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Co., Meiji Dairies Corp., Mengniu Dairy Co., Nestle, Yoplait Dairy Crest and Yakult Honsha.It's All Greek To MeGreek Yogurt has captivated U.S. consumers to the point where supermarkets struggle to keep up with demand and sometimes merchandise Greek yogurt apart from dairy so it can be seen earlier in the traffic flow and closer to healthy produce and organic foods displays, reports Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert.Health-driven shoppers are accustomed to paying premiums for products they believe in, and Greek yogurt is no exception. Its average equivalized price per 16-oz is $3.52, according to Nielsen. That's 117 percent higher than the $1.62 of non-Greek yogurt. Nielsen Buzz Metrics points to online discussions that focus on Greek yogurt's health benefits and rich, creamy texture. "Dieters, health seekers and athletes recommend eating Greek yogurt across all meal occasions – particularly as a satisfying on-the-go or evening snack," wrote Nielsen, noting that cooks claim it is "a more nutritious base for homemade salad dressings and mayonnaise….The healthy benefits of the more expensive variety justify the higher cost in the minds of consumers."Greek yogurt is a filling, high-protein, low-fat, low-carbohydrate food with healthy attributes. Two years ago, Greek yogurt accounted for just 2.8 percent of total refrigerated yogurt sales in U.S. food, drug and mass merchandiser stores (including Walmart), according to Nielsen data. In the 52 weeks ended Feb. 19, 2011, that share has grown to 13.2 percent. In fact, Greek yogurt followed a 117.6 percent dollar sales jump a year ago with a 156.1 percent surge this past year to reach $623.8 million.