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General Mills: ‘Our Q1 Greek yogurt sales grew nearly 100%, more than double the growth rate of this segment’

By Elaine WATSON , 20-Sep-2013
Last updated on 20-Sep-2013 at 15:55 GMT

General Mills: ‘Our Q1 Greek yogurt sales grew nearly 100%'

US sales of General Mills’ Greek yogurt business “continue to significantly outpace the segment”, said CEO Ken Powell during the firm’s first quarter earnings call this week.

“Our momentum started with the highly successful launch of Yoplait Greek 100 last summer. Year one retail sales for this reduced calorie line reached $150 million, making this the single largest new product launch in Yoplait in the last two decades.

“In total, our first quarter Greek yogurt sales grew nearly 100%, more than double the growth rate of this segment. And we're continuing the regional expansion of Liberté Greek.”

Yoplait Greek 100 is the single largest new product launch in Yoplait in the last two decades

The firm, which recently launched a new ‘blended’ version of Yoplait Greek yogurt after discovering “many consumers were not fully satisfied with the fruit on the bottom and aftertaste” of its previous Greek offering, said advertising for the new range “focuses on its winning taste profile”.

It is also innovating beyond Greek yogurt, with new advertising and marketing initiatives behind its core cup business, said Powell.

“Over the last two quarters our US yogurt net sales are up slightly with faster growth in unit sales. We're continuing to make steady progress on this key business and we expect to report further progress in the coming quarters.”

We’re not trying to out-promote anybody with Yoplait Greek 100

Yoplait has been steadily expanding its Greek portfolio in the past couple of years, recently launching a new product targeting tweens called Yoplait Pro-Force, which is high in calcium and protein and contains no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners (click here ).

However, its biggest hit to date has been the Yoplait Greek 100 range.

The new ‘blended’ Yoplait Greek range - which hits shelves in August - comes in six flavors – Blueberry, Coconut, Pineapple, Strawberry Raspberry, Tangerine and Vanilla, and has a "superior taste" to rival products, says General Mills CEO Ken Powell. Each 5.3oz pot contains 150 calories or fewer and 11g of protein, more than twice as much as regular non-Greek yogurt, claims Yoplait.

Asked about the aggressive price promotions in the Greek segment in the US in the Q4, 2013 earnings call earlier this year, Powell said: “We’re not trying to out-promote anybody with Greek 100. We don’t feel we need to. We’re really driving it with consumer awareness building."

US ready to eat cereal category volumes have declined in the past three years

In the three months ended August 25, the Cheerios to Chex cereals maker posted a 16% drop in net income to $459.3m in line with analysts' expectations. Net sales were up 8% to $4.37bn.

While category volumes in the US ready to eat cereal category have continued to decline, Big G Cereals unit boss Jim Murphy said he remained optimistic about the long-term prospects for cereal, given that it’s quick, easy to make, affordable, nutrient-dense and lower in calories than most breakfast options.

He did not comment on the performance of the new BFAST breakfast shake, but said “distribution on this product is just getting started and we are leveraging both in store and grass root sampling events to drive product trial and awareness”.

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