Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA as it unveiled a flurry of new products - including novel sweet & savory Flip varieties – Chobani said claims that the Greek segment is ‘cooling’ were off the mark.
Indeed, Greek continues to drive much of the growth in the overall yogurt category, which has also been steadily gaining momentum during the year, despite the well-publicised failure of one high-profile recent entrant to the category, Muller Quaker Dairy, said a spokesman.
“The total refrigerated yogurt category trend has grown from 2.2% (YoY in the past 52 weeks) to 2.5% (in the past 26 weeks) to 3.4% (in the past 13 weeks) to 5.4% (in the past four weeks).”
Chobani has been steadily gaining market share
And Chobani – which some market watchers argued had lost its mojo – has continued to gain market-share over the same period, growing its share of the overall yogurt category from 17.6% (past 52 weeks) to 18.4% (past 26 weeks) to 19.2% (past 13 weeks) to 19.4% (past 4 weeks), its highest ever share, said the spokesman.
“Chobani’s market-share in overall Greek yogurt also continues to grow from 33.4% (past 52 weeks) to 34.4% (past 26 weeks) to 35.8% (past 13 weeks) to 36.2% (past 4 weeks).”
While Chobani is generating healthy growth across its core cup and Simply 100 platforms, its Flip mix-in platform has been a key growth driver this year, he added: “Chobani Flip is the # 1 brand in the segment with 38% share of total mix-in and over 50% of Greek mix-ins according to Nielsen data for the latest four weeks.”
"In the last 12 months there were 800 new yogurt SKUs introduced - that’s crazy - I don’t know of a single category that has had that kind of proliferation... The yogurt aisle is cold and foreboding and incredibly congested, confusing, and hard to navigate… it’s a mess, so we’ve got to divide it by day part and need state." Peter McGuinness, chief marketing and brand officer, Chobani, at FOOD VISION USA
The innovation pipeline
So what’s in Chobani’s innovation pipeline?
From December 2015 through January 2016, the company will introduce a flurry of new products including more whole milk products, new 100-calorie Flip variants and novel sweet & spicy lines including pineapple chipotle and mango sriracha.
Speaking about the move into savory at the recent Food Vision USA conference in Chicago, Chobani's chief marketing and brand officer Peter McGuinness said: "This whole sweet and spicy thing, it’s a really exciting direction for yogurt. Yes it’s a risk, but I’ve lobbied really hard for this.
"It’s highly curated, culinary, with lots of nuts and spices and fruits, and interesting flavor combinations. Consumers are bore beyond belief by current flavors, they want flavor and texture, sweet, spicy, crunchy, nuts, seeds, grains, coconut, chocolate… Yogurt is low interest, let’s make it high interest."
The Greek segment remains a key part of the business, comprising about 48% of the total category. However, there is another 50+% that is equally important for retailers and shoppers. If you look at the whole yogurt category, in terms of market share, Dannon remains the market leader with more than 35% of the market, around double that of Chobani.
At Dannon, we're seeing strong growth the kids' segment, especially in drinkables, proactive health (Activia), the light segment, but also foodservice, which is a huge opportunity. Dannon Oikos Triple Zero (zero artificial sweeteners, zero added sugar, zero fat) is also performing very well." Michael J. Neuwirth, Senior Director of Public Relations, Dannon
Here's the full lineup of innovations for the New Year:
- Chipotle Pineapple
- Sriracha Mango
- Peanut Butter & Jelly
- Peppermint Perfection [limited batch]
- Mixed Red Berry Blended
- Strawberry Banana Blended
- Mango Cone Crunch
- Blueberry Cookie Crunch
- Strawberry Chocolate Crunch
- 16oz Plain 0%
- 16oz Whole Milk Honey
- 160z Whole Milk Vanilla
- 5.3oz Raspberry 4-Pack
- Apple Cinnamon [limited batch]
- Maple [limited batch]
- Apple 4-Pack
* Nielsen data, all outlets combined including c-stores to Nov 28th, 2015.