General Mills has been making up lost ground in the fast-growing US Greek yogurt market, increasing its market share to 9% compared with less than 6% in early summer.
Speaking on the firm’s Q2, 2013 earnings call yesterday, US Retail executive VP Ian Friendly said: “Yoplait's share in each of the most recent two months was 9% of Greek segment sales.
"It is still early days for US Greek yogurt, and we expect to earn our fair share of this market segment over time."
General Mills’ Yoplait brand, which many analysts say was left behind in the Greek yogurt segment as market leader Chobani stormed ahead - rapidly followed by Dannon - has been making up some lost ground in recent weeks, said Friendly.
“Yoplait Greek 100-calorie yogurt was launched in August. Distribution is ramping up nicely, and all six SKUs are turning in the top third of the total yogurt category.
“Our marketing campaign and dedicated advertising are now in market and on air, and we are pleased with the initial results."
Overall US yogurt sales still down, but ‘clearly the rate of decline is moderating’
And while General Mills' US yogurt sales declined overall in the second quarter, he added, “Clearly the rate of decline is moderating… We continue to see signs of stabilization for Yoplait Original and Yoplait Light yogurt.”
In Canada, meanwhile, yogurt category sales are up 9% so far this fiscal year, he added, with a new 50-calorie Greek yogurt offering, “the first of its kind in the Canadian market” set to hit shelves shortly.
In the overall US retail segment, General Mills’ Q2 net sales rose 2%, while pound volumes stabilized in September and October and increased at a mid-single digit rate in November, he revealed.
Group net sales grew 6% to $4.88bn in the quarter (13 weeks to Nov 25), with acquisitions plus the recently assumed Yoplait Canada business contributing 4 points of net sales growth.
Operating profit grew 10% to $959m.
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