Greek Yogurt – Far From a Tragedy
Greek yogurt, which has been creating quite a stir in the dairy
aisle, is about to become quickly crowded with a heap of well known and lesser
known names joining the category leaders, Fage and Chobani.
The launches come
as Greek yogurt sales soared 160 percent in the 52-weeks ending October 2,
according to The Nielsen Company. According to Mintel, Greek yogurt has exploded
from a $33 million category in 2007 to $469 million as of late last year, or
12 percent of all yogurt sales.
Among the new entrants:
- The Dannon Greek brand launched nationally in January.
- Kraft, which exited the yogurt category seven years ago, started selling
its Athenos brand at Walmart late last year.
- General Mills, whose Yoplait is the leading seller among regular yogurts,
is reformulating its Greek yogurt with a thicker texture and hired TV personality
Maria Menounos as a spokeswoman.
Others aiming at the category include The Greek Gods; Columbia-based dairy-giant
Alpina; Cabot Creamery, which recently introduced Cabot Greek; and Stonyfield
with its Oikos Organic Greek yogurt line.
Fage, credited with launching the trend
with its entry in 2008, accounted for 25 percent share of Greek yogurt, according
to Mintel. But Chobani’s growth has accelerated and it now claims roughly 45
percent share, according to Advertising
Age. Market watchers said it’s rare that two obscure brands can have
such an influence on eating habits.
"It wasn’t as if there was an obvious sort of marketing push," Bill
Patterson, a Mintel analyst, told Ad Age. "Greek yogurt just kind
of leapt on the scene. It truly was consumer-driven, which is really quite
With many competitors coming in, observers are exploring not
only what launched the trend but its potential size.
Ad Age said Greek yogurt has grown in the U.S. "as health-conscious
consumers gravitate toward products with simple ingredients." The thick,
creamy yogurt also touts twice the protein as ordinary brands. Some see the
growth potential as evident because American consumption of yogurt is less
than a third of European consumption.
Greek yogurt this year is also expected
to be bolstered by the promotion of yogurt overall as a substitute,
snack dessert and cooking ingredient. A recent Nielsen Buzz Metrics report,
according to Frozen & Dairy Buyer,
health seekers and athletes recommend eating Greek yogurt across all meal occasions
particularly as a satisfying on-the-go or evening snack and a more nutritious
base for homemade salad dressings and mayonnaise."
Mr. Neuwirt said the
biggest opportunity for yogurt overall is targeting women between the ages
of 25 to 54.
"They are infrequent customers," he said. "They eat yogurt
periodically, but it’s not top of mind."
Amy Levine, director of
marketing at Cabot Creamery, believes the target demographic is much broader. "There
are athletes, different ethnic groups and men as well as women, many of which
are higher income. We’re also seeing
a lot of younger people more interested in yogurt because of the protein content," she
told F&D Buyer.
- Strong Consumer Demand Pushes Greek Yogurt Into a Dairy-Aisle Battlefield – Advertising
- Greek’ Sparks Yogurt – Frozen & Dairy Buyer
- Greek Yogurt Moving Up Fast in Americans’ Food Preferences – Consumer
Discussion Questions: What do you see as the biggest driver of the popularity of Greek yogurt? How should major CPG companies such as Dannon and Kraft approach the opportunity kick-started by smaller brands?