Greek style yogurt has transformed the US yogurt business in recent years. This is a familiar story for anyone who has been eating yogurt or walking the refrigerated aisle at the grocery store in recent years. Greek yogurt has the health benefit of offering more protein than many traditional yogurts, as well as a distinctive taste/texture profile that has grown in popularity.
According to the Wall Street Journal, The Chobani brand ranks third in the total US yogurt market, while long-standing global yogurt leaders like Dannon/Dannon Oikos and Yoplait also offer Greek product lines. Still, Chobani dominates the Greek yogurt sub-category in the US with over 50% market share. Despite the growth in the Greek segment, in March 2012, Kraft made the decision to exit the subcategory, to instead focus its Athenos brand on ‘innovating new products.’ The Athenos brand continues to offer feta cheese, hummus and pita chips.
The yogurt business is enjoying even more investment and innovation with the
Muller Quaker Dairy’s Muller brand yogurt entry, built around the Muller Corner, Muller Greek Corner and Muller FrutUp product lines. Muller Quaker Dairy is a joint venture between PepsiCo and the Theo Muller a leading, privately-held German dairy business.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Muller yogurt products were first introduced in 17 markets in the NorthEast and MidAtlantic in summer 2012.
Here in the Chicago area, these innovative lines have carved off a big space in my household, driven by the unique corner packaging and toppings (e.g., caramelized almonds, choco balls, honeyed apricots, as well as the mousse-topped FrutUps.
My teen daughter reports that these products are a huge hit in her high school as well.
The brand’s current marketing executions feature the product innovation (the corner, the FrutUp), and take a twist on the clichéd, sexy European enticing an American woman by using a cheesy, tongue-in-cheek approach.
This tongue-in-cheek approach works well with Millennials and is reminiscent of the Velveeta Cheesy Skillets executions that we previously explored.
So far, we’ve enjoyed Muller’s appealing products and creative marketing to Millennials. It will be instructive to see how Muller Quaker Dairy also creates innovation in its business system and with its partners in order to carve off a new success formula in this highly competitive market.