Containing ‘only natural ingredients’, Simply 100 is sweetened with monk fruit, stevia leaf and evaporated cane juice (rivals Dannon Light & Fit Greek and Yoplait Greek 100 - which have been a big hit with consumers - both contain 'artificial' sweetener sucralose), and is a relative latecomer to the burgeoning ‘light Greek’ market.
Indeed, Nielsen data over the past 12 weeks suggests that light Greek is driving growth for all the category's leading players (Dannon Light & Fit Greek and Yoplait Greek 100 topped IRI’s 2013 new products pacesetters chart with first year sales of $144.9m and $135.1 respectively ).
However, in the past 12 weeks, Chobani was the only leading non-light Greek brand to increase its market share, with its dollar share up 11% over the period compared with flat dollar share growth for Dannon Oikos and Yoplait Greek, according to Nielsen.
Meanwhile, Chobani - which posted a 32% rise in revenues to more than $1bn in 2013 - notched up a 19% share of the $6.54bn US retail market for refrigerated yogurt and a 38% share of the $3.2bn Greek segment in the 52 weeks to February 15, 2014.
10 new products launching in June
The company declined to comment on media reports suggesting it is looking to raise capital, but sources close to the firm told FoodNavigator-USA that options included taking on debt, selling a minority stake (15% or less) or entering a strategic partnership, although moving directly toward an IPO is also on the table.
The firm, which is closely held by founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya and has so far raised capital via bank loans, plans to launch 10 new products in June, and also has ambitious international expansion plans.
Greek now accounts for 52% of dollar sales in overall US retail yogurt market
The Greek yogurt category - which is driving most of the growth in the US yogurt market - remains a hotbed of activity, as consumers buy into its low-fat credentials, high protein content and thicker texture.
Indeed, the most recent Nielsen four-week data shows that Greek now accounts for 52% of dollar sales in the yogurt category compared with just 4% in 2008.
Meanwhile, all the key players are expanding and refreshing their portfolios to cover all segments of the category.
Chobani will make its first foray into the organic market later this year , while Yoplait has recently introduced a blended range, and Dannon has just launched a Greek yogurt for kids under the Danimals brand (click here ).
In the past 24 weeks, Greek yogurt sales were up 30%, while non-Greek sales were down 11%. Overall, the yogurt category was up 6%.
Click HERE to read more about Simply 100.
Click HERE to read about Chobani’s new organic range.