Jul 25, 2011 • By

The Greek yogurt invasion

Greek yogurt is becoming a popular choice for many U.S. consumers. While consumers like the unique texture, they also like Greek yogurt for it higher protein content.

During our recent Investor Day in Boston, Ian Friendly, executive vice president and chief operating officer of General Mills’ U.S. Retail business, discussed our recent innovation in Yoplait Greek, our planned increases in manufacturing capacity, and our new Yoplait Greek marketing campaign set to launch next week.

In “Yogurt giants battle Greek invasion” in the Minneapolis Star Tribune – published yesterday – reporter Mike Hughlett looked into the trend, which according to his report has surprised some industry analysts:

“It’s been a very fast developing trend, one of the fastest in the food industry in many years,” said Christopher Growe, a stock analyst at Stifel Nicolaus. “It’s happened very abruptly.”

Hughlett also quotes Bill Patterson, a senior analyst at market researcher Mintel International, who says Greek yogurt seemingly rose up on its own:

Greek’s mass appeal came from a grassroots “consumer movement,” he said. “We can’t find any evidence of any major push or campaign in a traditional sense.”

As for Yoplait Greek, it’s been reformulated as a fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt, offered in several flavors, and the package has been redesigned.

“The new [Greek] version is a very competitive product,” said Stifel Nicolaus’ Growe. “It will get [Yoplait] back into the game.”

Michael Harad, Yoplait’s marketing director, told us, “Greek yogurt has been successful because it’s a great product – consumers love the high level of protein and find that it’s a satisfying snack that they can feel good about eating.”

While protein is a key attribute that consumers love about Greek yogurt, Mike says the benefit of this attribute is satiety – the feeling of being full after eating it. The marketing campaign for Yoplait Greek is the first Greek yogurt campaign to talk about that benefit.