Co-founded by Polaris Founders Capital (PFC) and Mjólkursamsalan (MS) Iceland Dairies, the largest farmer-owned cooperative in Iceland representing over 650 Icelandic family farms and milk producers, Icelandic Provisions is funded by Iceland and US investors.
“The two Polaris partners ate a lot of skyr, for breakfast, lunch, and for post workout protein, and they were frustrated that they couldn’t buy it everywhere they traveled in the US,” Icelandic Provisions chairman Einar Sigurðsson told DairyReporter
Although MS exported skyr to the US, it was only available in limited quantities in just a few stores in the Northeast. The launch of Icelandic Provisions in the US will bring skyr to 900 stores in the North Atlantic, Northeast, and Mid-Atlantic regions.
The company’s rollout includes five flavors: plain, vanilla, strawberry with lingonberry, blueberry with bilberry, and peach with cloudberry. Coconut, and raspberry, will also be available in stores beginning July 2016. The skyr line is sold in major US retailers including Whole Foods, Wegmans, and Harris Teeter for a SRP of $1.79 to $1.99 per 5.3-ounce cup.
‘Our customer has a high food IQ’
While the company does not specify a target age range for its skyr products, they do have very specific consumer profiled in mind.
“Our customer has a high food IQ, loves to travel, is active and a curious individual in general,” Sigurðsson said.
“We also know consumers are looking for newness in flavors, which our Nordic-derived approach to ingredients satisfies.”
Promising more protein and lower sugar content than most yogurt types, Icelandic skyr is still a new product for US consumers, but it is a taste Sigurðsson believes will catch on fast.
"US consumers are developing a palate for the thick, creamy taste of skyr,” Sigurðsson said.
“They value products with a high protein content that aren’t packed with the sugar levels you find in the cultured dairy populating grocery shelves across the US.”
‘Distinct from yogurt’
According to Sigurðsson, Skyr is distinct from yogurt in that is made with original heirloom skyr cultures, giving it a different creamy texture compared to yogurt. Skyr is higher in protein and has a lower sugar count than many yogurts.
“We’ve taken almost a full teaspoon of sugar out of each cup of our skyr versus Greek yogurt,” Sigurðsson said.
Icelandic Provisions’ flavored skyr contain an average of 33% less sugar per serving (5.7 gram), vs. all SKUs from the top five manufacturers of flavored Greek yogurt (excluding SKUs with non-caloric sweeteners), Sigurðsson added.
The company said it will continue to expand across the US during the second half of 2016.
Depending on the flavor, each container of skyr contains anywhere from 14 to 17 grams of protein and 1.5% fat per serving (0.3 grams in a cup).