You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Business

  • Economy rebounds with fast 4% growth
    WASHINGTON – The U.S. economy has rebounded with vigor from a grim start to 2014 and should show renewed strength into next year.That was the general view of analysts Wed­nesday after the g ...
  • Small cars fare poorly in new front-crash tests
    DETROIT – The four-door Mini Cooper Countryman was the only one of 12 cars to earn a top rating of “good” in new frontal crash tests.The Nissan Leaf, Nissan Juke, Fiat 500L and Mazda ...
  • Lincoln National quarterly earnings up 26%
    Lincoln National Corp. today reported second-quarter earnings of $398 million, or $1.48 per diluted common share, a 26 percent increase from the $317 million, or $1.15 a share, posted for the same three months of 2013.
Advertisement

Will kids go for Greek yogurt?

– Greek yogurt is taking over the dairy aisle, but will kids bite?

The question is a critical one for General Mills, which is a dominant player in yogurt for kids, with about half the market. It’s also important to Chobani, the leader in the Greek yogurt category, which is stepping up its courtship of kids – and their parents.

It’s a difficult question to answer, though. That’s because the same reasons some adults prefer Greek yogurt over the traditional yogurts Americans usually eat may not mean much to children.

Some adults like Greek yogurt for its bitter taste and the thicker consistency that it has because of the way it’s strained. Some health-conscious adults also like it because it has less fat and more protein. But children are a different story: They general like foods that are sweet and don’t care about how much protein is in their snacks.

“Whether the benefits of Greek yogurt are meaningful to children or not remains to be seen,” said Ian Friendly, the chief operating officer for the U.S. retail division of General Mills, during an interview last week with reporters at an industry conference.

But the fact that companies are looking at marketing Greek yogurt to kids is a natural progression of a growing market. Since 2007, Greek yogurt has gone from 1 percent of the market to 36 percent, with Chobani accounting for about half the market, according to a report by Bernstein Research. The report noted that Greek yogurt could continue growing and peak at more than 50 percent of the broader yogurt market in the U.S.

General Mills, which estimates that kids make up 12 percent of the yogurt market, sees an opportunity to lure at least some children. Last month, the company introduced its “Pro-Force” Greek yogurt, which also comes in cups and is marketed for tweens and older children.

But the Minneapolis company declined to say whether it has any plans to make a Greek yogurt variety of Go-Gurt, the popular squeezable yogurt it makes for younger children.

To tap into the kids market, Chobani last month introduced “Chobani ChampionsTubes” in flavors such as “Chillin’ Cherry” and “Jammin’ Strawberry,” posing a direct challenge to General Mills’ Go-Gurt. The company first moved into kids territory in 2011, with the introduction of “Chobani Champions,” which comes in cups and is marketed toward slightly older kids.

Chobani also is appealing to parents with its Champions cups and tubes by noting that they have less sugar and more protein than other yogurts for kids; Chobani tubes have 8 grams of sugar and 5 grams of protein. Go-Gurt has about 10 grams of sugar and 2 grams of protein.

The privately-held company’s introduction of yogurt tubes is just the latest threat to General Mills, which is still scrambling to catch up to the growth of Greek yogurt. If General Mills had known it would become so popular, the company would have jumped into the market sooner, Friendly, General Mills’ COO said.

“I don’t think anyone thought that it was going to get as big as it did,” he said during the interview at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference in Boca Raton, Fla.

But General Mills notes that it’s making up ground quickly. It introduced Yoplait Greek in 2010 and followed up with 100-calorie versions of the line last summer, which it says help set it apart from other Greek yogurts.

Advertisement