Altschul told FoodNavigator-USA at the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo in Philadelphia last month that the company is “working actively against new innovations and has great plans for 2020” that will bring the “siggi’s difference” of simple ingredients, not a lot of sugar and no artificial ingredients “to other parts of yogurt” beyond strained.
The expansion is in response to consumers who told siggi’s that they want the same choices that the brand brought to strained yogurt in different segments.
While Altschul would not share details of the upcoming launches, he noted “the best place for us to focus is on how do we increase the use of yogurt as an ingredient, such as a substitute for sour cream or different cooking and mixing opportunities,” particularly in savory recipes.
“We have a ton of recipes where siggi’s is the perfect ingredient. We use it with our registered dietitians as well and they are starting to recommend siggi’s in a big way, which will drive the accessibility of options and uses for our plain yogurt as well as our yogurt with a touch of honey or vanilla yogurt,” he added.
Staying ahead of the competition
The new line-up will hit store shelves at a time when many competitors in the yogurt category are catching up to siggi’s, which has spearheaded a sugar-reduction movement in the category with its basic premise of “simple ingredients, not a lot of sugar, and no artificials,” Altschul said.
He explained that when siggi’s first launched its strained yogurt it had significantly less sugar than most competing products, but that it also was several years ahead of today’s mainstream consumer desire to limit sugar and cut back calories.
“What we are just now seeing is companies reacting to what siggi’s has always done and asking themselves, ‘How do we reduce the amount of sugar over all,’” Altschul said. He added that competitors also are wising up to consumer demands for “a different level of ingredients” that excludes artificial options in favor of clean labels – again, a value that siggi’s has promoted since its inception.
“At siggi’s we feel proud because we feel like we have led this latest transformation … and as the category continues to evolve we are seeing that yogurt is still significantly underdeveloped in the US,” he added. “So, for us, it is a question of how do we continue to push the envelop and continue to bring our basic promise beyond strained yogurt and into other segments in yogurt.”
While the company was tight-lipped about its innovation pipeline for 2020, the new products it released in the back half of 2019 could hint at the direction the brand is headed.
For example, in July, siggi’s launched its Lactose Free skyr, which maintains the brand’s high protein, delivers on lower sugar but also still tastes sweet because the enzyme added to make the skyr lactose free creates a slightly sweeter product without having to add anything artificial, Altschul said.
Other new products launched in July include siggi’s 4% Coffee skyr, which claims to be the first coffee yogurt on the market to use arabica cold brew, and a 4-count multipack of the brand’s fan-favorites. It also relaunched its 2% milkfat skyr under the Simple Sides brand “to broaden the appeal and improve the ability to stir the yogurt with mix-ins,” according to the company.
Tapping dietitians to tackle consumer confusion
Even as siggi’s expands its portfolio and the reach of the yogurt category more broadly, Altschul acknowledged that the company continues to grapple with consumer confusion about how to shop the segment.
“The biggest challenge is that it is a confusing category to shop and you have all these players making what seems to consumers as similar attributes changes to their yogurt. So, the biggest challenge for us is, we know we have a unique and different product, but how do we let our consumers know that? And how do we make them aware that there is still nothing like us on the shelf?” he said.
Siggi’s answer is a three-prong approach that leverages its existing consumers, who Altschul described as “the biggest ambassadors for the brand,” as well as networks of registered dietitians, like those at FNCE, and its founder’s authentic story.
“I know a lot of brands have started reducing sugar in the last couple of years and trying to bring their alternatives to us to the market, but we have doing it since 2004. So, we are trying to bring that story to life,” Altschul explained.
Siggi’s expands globally
While siggi’s continues to expand its portfolio and relationship with influencers in the food and diet space, it also will continue global expansion in the new year, which it began after dairy leader Lactalis Group acquired the company in early 2018.
The partnership between Lactalis and siggi’s “has been an excellent partnership for us,” Altschul said. “On one hand, they allow us to continue to do what we do best so our product remains the same, our values remain the same, but on the other hand, they are able to support us in expanding in a big way.”
He explained that since the acquisition, siggi’s has launched in 10 countries and plans to launch in five more in the next six months.
“For us, this is a brand that resonates with consumers around the world. It is a unique and different proposition and our values of simple ingredients, no artificials and not a lot of sugar really carry around the world,” Altschul said. As a result, he added, “it is easy for us to compete with others in this scenario.”