noosa yoghurt merges with Sovos Brands, eyes up category extensions beyond spoonable yogurt

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: noosa yoghurt Instagram (@noosayoghurt)
Photo: noosa yoghurt Instagram (@noosayoghurt)

Related tags Yogurt

noosa yoghurt has merged with Sovos Brands, a food and beverage company formed in 2017 with a growing portfolio of premium CPG brands that plans to extend the noosa brand into categories beyond spoonable yogurt.

Founded in 2009 by Australian expat, Koel Thomae, noosa yogurt has gained a consumer following across its 25,000 retail locations, quintupling its distribution over the past four years.

Based on a yogurt Thomae had while in Australia, noosa products are made in small batches using whole milk, wildflower North American honey, and various fruit purees., resulting in a creamy, not overly tart texture and flavor profile.

“That sweet-meets-tart flavor and thick, velvety texture is what puts this yoghurt into a whole new category of yum,”​ a noosa spokesperson told FoodNavigator-USA.

Outside of its flavor profile that US consumers have responded favorably to, noosa is riding the growth of full-fat yogurts as Americans have become more relaxed with incorporating fat back into their diets.

According to SPINS data for the 52 weeks ending August 12, full-fat yogurts​ have seen sales increase by 8.2%, whereas low-fat and non-fat declined by 3.8% and 12.9% respectively.

In the case of noosa yoghurt, which contains 13g of fat per serving for its plain flavor, the company has more than tripled its sales over the past four years (hitting $100m in 2015), while also tripling its market share and expanding its local production capacity in Bellvue, Colorado with a $60m investment from Advent.

Over that same time period, noosa has significantly expanded its portfolio, introducing more than 25 new flavors and sizes as well as new formats such as its ‘noosa mates’ and side-by-side yogurt ranges.

In November 2014, noosa yoghurt sold to New York-based global equity firm, Advent International, for an undisclosed sum with the co-founders retaining a significant minority stake in the company.

Beyond spoonable yogurt

Sovos Brands, which is financially backed by Advent International, said it aims to build upon the success and brand equity noosa has already achieved and sees “a number of attractive opportunities to grow the noosa brand” ​as Sovos expands into the yogurt category and becomes “a more powerful force in the food industry.”

"noosa fits perfectly into our portfolio of one-of-a-kind brands in the food and beverage sector, and we have been impressed by its compelling growth opportunities, attractive consumer demographics and talented employee base,"​ said Todd Lachman, President and CEO of Sovos Brands

In an email to FoodNavigator-USA, Sovos Brands said, “We match one-of-a-kind brands with one-of-a-kind talent, and keep the focus on the front line – a true inflection point within any food business.”

According to Sovos, the company sees opportunities to enter new categories with noosa. While neither company shared what those category extensions, this has been a move made by other yogurt companies such as Chobani’s condiment-position Savor line.

“Sovos’ approach to is to work directly with the local brand teams and team them with their highly capable management team and expansive distribution platform to identify continued and accelerated growth opportunities for the noosa brand, including the extension of its products into new categories outside of spoonable yoghurt.”

noosa yoghurt also told FoodNavigator-USA, that it will maintain the same brand identity and types of products consumers have grown familiar with now that it has merged with Sovos.

“Our commitment is to deliver the same super premium product with high quality ingredients that the consumer has learned to love. Ongoing, we will continually review the consumer demand and product mix to ensure we are producing the appropriate products and pack sizes for our consumers and customers.”

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