Danone launched Densia in August on the Spanish market and early sales indicators supplied by Mintel suggest the yoghurt is performing well.
Carla Ogeia Lewis, trends and innovation consultant at Mintel, told Nutra Ingredients that Densia is enjoying sales numbers that are well above average for the yoghurt category.
Its early success seems to be justifying the confidence that distributors have put in the new product. Giving weighted distribution numbers, Ogeia Lewis said well over 40 per cent of stores are stocking Densia, compared with the average for the category, which is about 20 per cent.
Densia differs from existing yoghurt products in its positioning. Instead of focusing on the burgeoning bone health market for children, Densia is aimed at older consumers.
But importantly, Danone has targeted women above 40 implicitly without resorting to direct marketing claims, which have previously floundered in Europe. Consumers prefer not to be reminded of their age so Danone has opted to talk discreetly about vitality and bone density.
Ogeia Lewis said Densia can attract older women indirectly because they are already big yoghurt consumers and are aware of bone health issues.
Densia is perhaps the first serious attempt to reach these consumers. It is fortified with vitamin D and calcium, so that each 125g pot contains 100 per cent of the daily RDA for vitamin D and 50 per cent of the RDA for calcium.
This sort of product is well established in Asia but has not yet made any major inroads in Europe. Ogeia Lewis said Yoplait launched Calin in France back in October 2007 but the high calcium dairy product has since been withdrawn from sail.
In 90 weeks on the shelves the product failed to reach the sales numbers that Danone has achieved with Densia in a fraction of the time. Ogeia Lewis said it may have been too early for the product and maybe France is just not as well suited to the concept as Spain.
Functional foods and drinks sell well in Spain making it a good incubator, or testing ground for new ideas. But success is not guaranteed.
Danone launched the Essensis beauty yoghurt in Spain but later withdrew the product after sales failed to match expectations. Early indications are that Densia looks set to be a more successful yoghurt for the company.
Ogeia Lewis said Danone is likely to move on from early success in Spain and roll out Densia in other European markets. But she warned that the French dairy company must test the waters to ensure that other markets are suited to the product, as attitudes to different functional food ideas vary widely between countries.