Greek yogurt popularity drives Dannon's Oikos brand to top spot among 2012 food launches

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Coffee, Brand management, Us

Greek yogurt popularity drives Dannon's Oikos brand to top spot among 2012 food launches
The popularity of Greek yogurt in the US market has powered Dannon’s Oikos  brand to the top position among new food and beverage launches in 2012.

According to data released by Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), the Oikos brand notched $284 million in sales in 2012. Starbucks’ K Cups (concentrated coffee for use in Keurig brewing machines) was second, with $199 million in sales, and a beer launch, Bud Platinum Light, came in third at $162 million.

Greek momentum stays strong

The momentum for Greek yogurt in the US remains strong;  according to data from Innova Market Insights, 29% of US yogurt launches in the first half of year were in the Greek category.  That compares to less than 8% of global yogurt launches over the same period that were positioned as Greek or Greek-style, said the firm.

Chobani is the leader in the category, followed by Dannon.  But General Mills’ Yoplait Greek brand, which had lost share to the two leaders, is making up lost ground, said Ian Friendly, chief operation officer of US retail said recently.

“Year-to-date, our Greek yogurt sales are significantly outpacing growth of the segment, and we've picked up nearly three points of market share,” ​Friendly said at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) conference in February.

IRI noted that more than 1,900 new CPG brands hit store shelves in 2012, but only 11% of those met the company’s benchmarks of exceptional first-year sales success to be designated as pacesetters.

Protein trend drives success

Protein-bar-nature-valley-general-mills

Another trend that drove results in the food and beverage category was the popularity of higher protein products.  Nature Valley, a legacy brand in the granola bar market, found renewed success with its Nature Valley Protein Bars launch, which racked up $96 million in sales. 

Another product that features protein, though not an exclusively protein story, is Dean Foods’ TruMoo, which brought in $158 million in sales, paced perhaps in part by the new view of chocolate milk as a viable sports recovery drink and by nutritionists coming back to recommending chocolate milk as better alternative to soft drinks as a kids' beverage. 

Dean is building on that momentum by having introduced a lower fat, lower sugar version of the product in January of this year.

MiO-Fit-Kraft

Another notable mention on the food and beverage  list is driven by a unique delivery system.  Mio, the water flavoring product line launched by Kraft Foods, hit $128 million in sales in 2012. 

Part of that success was driven by convenience store sales, where the brand took in $30 million.  Kraft is building on this momentum, too, with a new national TV ad campaign featuring comedian Tracey Morgan of 30 Rock​ and Saturday Night Live​ fame.

The past year was a challenging one for new product launches, the company said.  According to Susan Viamari, editor of Times & Trends at IRI, these brands beat the odds by “bringing consumers increased value at a time when value is more critical than it has been in recent history.

"They are doing this by harnessing many and varied ingredients and technologies to deliver products that do things better with less effort; taste better, with enhanced nutritional value.”

The average first-year sales for the pacesetters in new food and beverage launches was $43 million, the company said.

That was slightly better than the $40 million average for all of the 200 pacesetter brands that spanned all CPG categories.

Related topics: Markets, Danone

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