The Crossovers come in the now familiar two-compartment, single-serve package with Fage’s strained yogurt blended with on-trend flavors on one side and premium crunch ingredients on the other, smaller side so that consumers can “crossover” the dry-ingredients into the yogurt when they are ready to eat.
The square package helps set the Crossovers apart from Fage’s previously existing round Total Split Cup line, which employs the same idea of consumers blending ingredients from two compartments, except the Total Split Cup offers liquid ingredients, such as fruit blends and honey.
While the shape-shift makes sense as a point of differentiation within the portfolio, it also more closely aligns the new Crossovers with competitor Chobani’s Flip line, which also uses a two-compartment square container with yogurt on one side and dry ingredients on the other.
But, David Marino, sales operations manager for Fage USA Dairy, explained at Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore that the Crossovers are differentiated from Chobani Flip in that the line-up includes four “truly savory” options.
“A lot of what you see on the market now are sweet and spicy” blends, such as chili and mango, which bring a natural sweetness from the fruit to offset the heat, he said.
“But a true savory offering though? I don’t think there is much out there like that beyond us,” he added.
The savory line-up of Crossovers includes Olive Thyme with Almonds, Tomato Basil with Almonds, Coconut Curry with Cashews and Carrot Ginger with Pistachios – the last of which Marino said is his favorite because it brings a hint of sweet from the carrot but with a bit of zing from the ginger.
The line also includes four sweet options: Maple Syrup with Granola, Honey with Glazed Pecans, Caramel with Almonds and Coconut with Dark Chocolate – which currently is the best-selling flavor of the entire line, according to Marino.
Offering savory flavors in addition to more traditional sweet options is a key part of Fage’s overall goal in launching the Crossovers line, Marino said. He explained that the Crossovers are about more than literally crossing over one compartment into another. They “are also really about crossing over into new uses and new thoughts regarding yogurt.”
The idea is that savory flavors likely will hold more appeal later in the day than the sweet flavors that now are consumed primarily at breakfast, he said. Thus, expanding the day parts in which yogurt can be enjoyed.
“We really want to change your perspective towards yogurt,” he said.
A significant challenge
He acknowledged that this is no easy task given that Americans have eaten mostly sweet yogurts for the past 15 years and are well-trained to think of them as breakfast or dessert. However, he said the initial response has been positive.
The savory flavors are selling at about 75% the volume of the sweet ones, and most retailers currently are carrying one or two of the four savory options. But most of that difference is due to lack of familiarity with the new flavors, Marino said.
To change that the company is doing “old-school sampling” of the savory flavors and is marketing the entire line in television ads to build awareness, he said.
Fage also plans to build on this initial positive momentum by launching six more Crossovers flavors in February, including a blend of sweet and savory flavor combinations, he added.