Healthy growth for Yoplait
What a difference a few years make, especially for Yoplait.
In the U.S., the brand had struggled in recent years, but it appears that those struggles are over as General Mills reported today that net sales for Yoplait USA are up 10 percent over last year at this time with Yoplait Original, Yoplait Greek and Yoplait kid products all posting strong retail sales growth.
And with market share gains in each of the last seven months, including more than two points of share growth last month, the business is on a healthy growth streak.
On Monday, the Star Tribune reported on Yoplait’s return to growth: “General Mills’ Yoplait yogurt business looking healthier.”
David Clark, vice president and president of Yoplait USA, told the newspaper, “This is the first time we have seen [growth] metrics in three years.”
These growth metrics are being attributed to an investment in core brand renovation, innovation and strong consumer marketing.
“Yoplait is a pretty exciting place to be right now. We have really focused on understanding the consumer and what they want. That’s allowed us to make some changes which have helped grow our sales,” says David.
Among these changes, Yoplait has simplified the ingredients, removed high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and flavors. And Yoplait Original recently announced it is reducing sugar across the line by 25 percent with the new recipe hitting stores this month. A three-year project, the team worked through hundreds of iterations with consumers making sure they would get the taste just right, says David.
(See related story: “Reducing sugar in Yoplait”)
Yoplait also has increased investment behind snack-focused advertising with all-family appeal, a big departure from traditional yogurt advertising which has been primarily targeted to women with a diet message.
In this fun spot, called “Spoons”, a brother and sister make a mad dash for the fridge in search of an after school snack only to find a single Yoplait Original. One has the spoons, the other has something hiding in his back pocket – a straw! The use of the straw is a reflection of how consumers are eating yogurt to make it a portable snack, an idea the brand had noticed on social media, according to David.
In Greek, where retail sales were up 43 percent in the third quarter, Yoplait has been focused on delivering great tasting innovation with Yoplait Greek 100 and new Yoplait Greek 100 Whips, which hit the market in January.
And more innovation is coming to market this summer with the launch of Yoplait Plenti, the first Greek yogurt with whole grain oats, flax and pumpkin seed with fruit mixed in.
“Our focus on Greek has been around developing products that taste really great. To be honest, we had challenges with that in the beginning, but we’ve really figured it out. When you get the product right everything else can work on top of it.”
(See related story: “General Mills reports fiscal 2015 third-quarter results”)
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