Muller Quaker Dairy, the joint venture between PepsiCo and German dairy giant Theo Müller Group, is rolling out Müller yogurts to more US cities in the Mid-Atlantic, Great Lakes and Southeast regions, including Chicago, Atlanta, Cincinnati and Tampa after a successful launch on the east coast.
The firm, which currently produces the yogurts in Europe, expects the first products to roll off the production line at a brand new $206m into facility in Batavia, New York, “as early as this summer”, a spokesman told FoodNavigator-USA.
Once completed, the 350,000 square foot facility will be one of the largest yogurt manufacturing plants in the US and is expected to create more than 180 new jobs.
Expansion to the Mid-Atlantic, Great Lakes and Southeast regions
The first three products from Muller in the US are Muller Corner (yogurt with a side compartment of toppings you add yourself, Muller Greek Corner, and Muller FrutUp (yogurt and fruit mousse).
The spokesman would not comment on whether other lines such as Muller Light - which have been a big hit in markets such as the UK - will be launched in the US, but said other “new and innovative products from Europe” were being explored.
In launch cities, Muller yogurt will now be available in chains including Dillons, Dominick's, Giant Eagle, Hannaford, Kroger, Meijer, Pathmark, Publix, Safeway, Shop Rite, Stop and Shop, Walmart and Winn-Dixie, while club packs are available at select Costco, Sam's Club and BJ's wholesale club, said the firm.
The suggested retail prices are $.99 for Muller FrutUp and $1.29 for Muller Corner and Muller Greek Corner, which are made from reduced-fat, Grade A milk, and contain 130-220 calories per serving.
"With fresh flavors and unique mix-ins, Muller yogurt is a great tasting and a completely new concept for enjoying yogurt," said Muller Quaker Dairy CEO Sam Lteif,
"Europeans have loved Muller yogurt for years, now we are seeing Americans enjoy something that is truly delicious and fun to eat.”
The US market for dairy is growing, but remains largely untapped
Speaking to us when the JV was first announced, PepsiCo said it was confident it could capture a sizeable share of the US yogurt market, adding:
“While the dairy category has grown significantly in recent years, it is nowhere near its full potential. The US market for dairy is growing, but remains largely untapped.”
Market researchers contacted by this publication when news of the joint venture first broke, said a new market entrant such as PepsiCo could breathe fresh life into the fixture and generate incremental sales rather than merely stealing market share off the top two players.
Euromonitor International senior research analyst Virginia Lee said: “If PepsiCo wants to get into this market there is a real opportunity to drive growth by expanding the number of eating occasions for yogurt so it moves beyond something you would just have at breakfast into a post workout snack or an evening snack as well.
“There is still room for a new player, as long as they can secure the shelf-space, which for a company like PepsiCo should not be a problem, at least to start with.”