Simple Sides (MSRP $1.99) – featuring flavors such as vanilla yogurt with dried coconut & cacao nibs; honey yogurt with dried figs & walnuts; vanilla yogurt with almonds & dried cherries; and plain yogurt with muesli & currants – are “nutritiously complete snacks” containing c.15g protein and 11g sugar, “offering a more positive nutritional profile amidst the traditionally sugar-filled yogurt + mix-ins product segment,” claimed the company.
“Our mission has always been to provide yogurts that are lower in sugar, have a simple ingredient list and taste great,” said siggi's founder Siggi Hilmarsson, who first started selling his yogurt at an outdoor market in Manhattan in 2006 and sold the low sugar, high protein brand, to dairy giant Lactalis in early 2018 for an undisclosed sum. “This new launch follows the same philosophy.”
Siggi’s, which is still based in New York with Hilmarsson as chairman and Bart Adlam as president and CEO, told FoodNavigator-USA that the yogurt + mix ins category is “projected to approach $500m in retail sales by the end of 2018 and is outpacing many other existing category segments in YOY growth.”
Heidi Krauss, VP of marketing and business development, explained:“After observing the evident uptick in consumers searching for less sugary options and research showing 94% of Americans snack daily, we set out to create a nutritiously complete snack with the introduction of siggi’s Simple Sides.”
High protein, low sugar, simple ingredients: Siggi's is known for its short ingredients lists, with its strawberry yogurt containing five ingredients: Pasteurized skim milk, strawberries, cane sugar, fruit pectin, and live active cultures. The plain variety contains two ingredients: Pasteurized skim milk and live active cultures.
We are often one of the only brands showing any positive growth at top retailers
Asked about category dynamics, Krauss said: “Siggi’s continues to outpace category leaders in growth [with revenues increasing by] +36% in the latest 52 weeks.
“We have been the fastest growing brand in the category for the past four years [although rival skyr brand Icelandic Provisions has shared Nielsen data with FoodNavigator-USA to show it was the fastest grower in the latest 26 weeks] and are often one of the only brands showing any positive growth at top retailers. Consumers are asking for simple ingredient lists and lower sugar offerings and siggi’s continues to deliver in exciting new formats.”
Mix-ins: The mix-in concept featuring a portion of yogurt and a side of toppings, was first popularized in the US retail yogurt category by Greek yogurt maker Fage USA, and has gained in popularity following the success of Chobani's Flip range, launched in 2013, with new launches from noosa, Yoplait, Oikos and others in recent years.
However, Muller Corners from joint venture Muller Quaker Dairy, were not a success in the US market, and were discontinued in 2015 two years after launch, despite their success in other markets such as the UK.
Fat is back
Asked why the company had decided to use whole milk (c.4% fat) in its new Simple Sides line, she said: “The full fat segment continues to show promise in the category and for siggi’s. The whole milk segment is far outpacing the total yogurt category’s declines with over 9% growth as of April of this year.
“Siggi’s full fat cups perform right alongside our low fat and non-fat offerings and sometimes even stronger, so we expect our new whole milk Simple Sides to see similar success.”
siggi’s continues to make up almost 90% of all Icelandic skyr volume in the US
While new entrants have entered the market with skyr products in recent years, added Krauss, “siggi’s continues to make up almost 90% of all Icelandic skyr volume in the US as of the latest 52 weeks. Consumers are familiar with the strained yogurt style from the Greek yogurt boom and we’ve seen more success being shelved alongside category leaders in this space versus creating a separate segment."
While low fat brands such as Halo Top are gaining traction in the ice cream aisle, whole milk fat products have been gaining traction in milk, yogurt and other dairy categories as shoppers seek more 4% milk fat options, according to IRI data, with the percentage share of total milk increasing from 33% in 2012 to more than 40% in the first five months of 2018.
"Consumers talk about not eating more fat necessarily, but eating higher quality fats. So people feel that grass fed dairy leads to higher quality fat, for example. They are also seeking full fat products because they are more satiating so they are less likely to reach for a snack in an hour," said Melissa Abbott, VP retainer services at Hartman Group during our recent 'healthy fats' webinar.
Read more about dairy industry dynamics HERE.