Müller Quaker Dairy CEO Sam Lteif told DairyReporter.com that the strengths brought to the table by both firms will give it an advantage in the “attractive” US dairy market.
Earlier this week, the joint venture announced the US launch of three yogurt products - Müller Corner, Müller Greek Corner and Müller FrutUp. The launch, which is scheduled for mid-July 2011, marks the first entry by both firms into the US dairy market.
Through its joint venture agreement, Müller Quaker Dairy hopes to satisfy the increasing demand for value-added dairy products in the US.
According to Lteif, the yogurt launch will be the first of many by the company, which plans to develop its product portfolio around “unmet consumer needs.”
Attractive growth opportunity
“They have best-in-class manufacturing engineering, are the largest dairy company with in-house fruit preparation, and have unique products and packaging,” said Lteif of Müller. “PepsiCo contributes its deep understanding of the US consumer, marketing expertise, and excellent go-to-market capabilities.”
“Together, Müller Quaker Dairy will tap into Müller’s ability to create unique dairy foods and combine it with PepsiCo’s strong legacy of great taste – and expertise in ‘convergence’ across grains, fruits, vegetables and dairy – to create truly new offerings for American consumers.”
“We intend to have a variety of products that fulfil our unmet consumer needs and will develop our portfolio of products over time. However, our first products will deliver great taste and a totally new yogurt experience for families.”
Müller Quaker Dairy has identified the US dairy market as an “attractive growth opportunity” and anticipates that the sector will drive its food and beverage portfolio in future.
“It’s one of the fastest growing food and beverage categories in the US, and per-capita consumption remains low,” said Lteif.
“With the launch of Müller yogurt products in the US, including Müller Corner, Müller Greek Corner and Müller FrutUp, we anticipate that dairy will be an important driver in our overall nutrition-based foods, snacks and beverage portfolio in the coming years.”
Greek yogurt competition
Lteif also brushed aside concerns over the level of competition in the Chobani and Danone-dominated Greek yogurt segment.
The US yogurt market has been dominated by Greek-style offerings since 2007, when it accounted for just 1% of US yogurt sales. It now holds a 35% share.
While Danone and Chobani have experienced significant growth in the Greek category, others have not been as fortunate. General Mills, with its Yoplait Greek offering, and Fage have struggled to hold down a competitive share of the category.
Lteif is, however, confident that its Greek yogurt offering, Müller Greek Corner, can differentiate itself from other established Greek-style brands.
“Müller Greek Corner will offer delicious mix-ins like caramelised almonds, fruit and even chocolate-coated cereal – helping it to further differentiate it from other brands in the market,” said Lteif.
“We make our Greek Corner yogurt using a yogurt process that adds milk protein concentrate (ultra-filtered milk) to achieve a thicker texture and higher protein. Our Greek-style yogurt is delicious.”