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Danone 2014 First Quarter Sales

Watch out Chobani! Danone claims parity with Greek yogurt rival

By Rachel Arthur+

17-Apr-2014
Last updated the 17-Apr-2014 at 14:58 GMT

Danone's Oikos is a strong seller in the Greek yogurt sector
Danone's Oikos is a strong seller in the Greek yogurt sector

Danone has grabbed a 33% market share of the US Greek yogurt market, and cheekily claims it has pulled even with bitter rival Chobani. 

Danone says it is leading the US yogurt category, and co-leading the Greek segment, as it released its Q1 2014 sales results yesterday.

The company reports its Q1 2014 net sales up +2.2% like-for-like and down -5.2% as reported, cut 8.9% by adverse exchange-rate effects. Growth remains strong in the CIS and North America area.

Q1 2014 sales for the group are €5,061m, compared to €5,338m in Q1 2013.

The company said its Oikos Greek yogurt and Light & Fit Greek brands are performing particularly well in the States, and claims an overall value share of around 50%.

Greek yogurt success is essential

In January, Chobani claimed to lead the Greek yogurt category with a 37.6% volume share. Danone now puts its main competitor's average value market share at 35%, and its own at 33%.

The Greek yogurt category is driving most of the growth in the US market, and the product is popular with consumers for its low-fat credentials, high protein content and thicker texture.

Earlier this year, Nielsen data showed that Greek yogurt now accounts for 52% of dollar sales in the yogurt category, compared to just 4% in 2008.  

Danone says it is a ‘solid leader’ in the US fresh dairy segment.

“This quarter has been a bit of a paradox. Paradox because it’s shown very clearly a further market share improvement,” said Pierre-André Terisse, CFO, Danone.

“At the same time this has taken place in context of a growth which has been slow at the beginning of the quarter, and progressively accelerating as we have been moving in the quarter,” he added.

Leadership in the yogurt category

“We are operating on the US Greek market with a portfolio which is complete. Within this portfolio two brands performing very strongly are Oikos and Light and Fit Greek,” Terisse said.

“This is clearly confirming our leadership in the overall category.”

Danone said its performance in ALMA (Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Middle East, Africa) has been severely affected by the fall-out from the Fonterra affair.

In January, Danone terminated its supply contract with Fonterra over the 2013 whey protein concentrate Clostridium botulinum contamination scare that led to product recalls in Asia, Australasia and the Middle East.

However, Danone says one of its priorities is to rebuild a strong, solid portfolio in early life nutrition in Asia. 

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