Entrepreneur Evan Sims, who formerly worked for DuPont’s Danisco division, started California-based Peak Yogurt earlier this year. His plan is to go to retail in March 2016, proudly marketing his brand as a healthy product.
Sims will start with a traditional cup of yogurt featuring 12% milk fat and a Greek yogurt with 18% milk fat.
Currently, Sims has a Peak Yogurt fundraising effort on IndieGoGo, which has reached north of $11,000. This will help his plans to launch the product in March 2016 at approximately 30 stores in California’s Bay Area.
Sims is touting this yogurt as having three-times the milk fat as the standard yogurt on the market and says he is going the opposite way of some other companies, with no sugar added.
For Sims, that is the appeal of this product; this difference is what will let it stand out, he believes.
“I started looking at low fat and no fat yogurt, which by volume is what sells the best, and those have up to 55% calories from added sugar, excluding milk sugar,” Sims told DairyReporter. “To me, that’s a junk food in disguise. Yogurt is marketed for the most part as the healthy alternative to real junk food.”
Humans have relied on milk fats, such as cream and butter, from grass-fed cows for centuries, Sims said, so he finds it odd that the last few decades have pained saturated and dairy fat as something of a villain. One example Sims gave was the vitamin K2, which helps prevent heart disease and is primarily found in products with milk fat.
Start small, go big
While Sims said he’s intent on starting small in the Bay Area, his goal is to eventually make Peak Yogurt a national company.
“But I want to start small and see what works and what doesn’t here,” he said. “I want to be on the ground, I want to be in stores, talking to hundreds or thousands of customers and go from there based on what we learned.”
“It’s this really tragic ironic, misguided crusade,” he said. “The situation has become worse by avoiding these great foods.”
Will it sell?
Are people still interested in this kind of yogurt? Sims said the sales are still good for sugar-added yogurt, but sees many people moving away from this type of product due to the scientific knowledge that large amounts of sugar are not healthy.
“The fat side is a bit more complex; I think we’re just at the beginning of this trend,” he said regarding the acceptance of products with more fat.
“You see more people embracing whole milk yogurt, butter sales at a 40 or 50 year high, whole milk sales met or surpassed skim. I think all the signs are there, but the fact that the medical establishment and heath authority who issue food and dietary guidelines are still not really aboard that sat fat is completely safe and healthful food.”
It may take some time for fat to be seen as a health product again in yogurt, Sims said, but he is in it for the long haul. Within the next few years, he’s positive that higher fat content yogurt will be a niche product and may grow from there.
“That’s what I’m banking on,” he said. “The other side is this is the product I love. I eat it every day. I want to see it exist as product.”