Chobani beats Yoplait in sales and market share as Dannon takes No. 1 spot in US yogurt market

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

Chobani continues to thrive in the yogurt category.
Chobani continues to thrive in the yogurt category.

Related tags Yoghurt Kefir

Yoplait has been surpassed in the US yogurt market by privately-owned Greek yogurt maker Chobani, with Dannon representing the top yogurt brand in the US with a 34% market share.

In 2011, Yoplait held a 25% share of the US yogurt market making it the leading yogurt brand at the time, but come 2016 it had slipped to third, behind Chobani and Dannon, with a 19% market share.

“And we don’t even make non-Greek [yogurt],”​ Chobani said in an email.

The US yogurt market struggled overall, however, sliding 0.3% to $7.6bn for 2016, according to Nielsen data. Chobani managed to register double-digit growth in 2016 reaching nearly $2bn in sales, beating out Yoplait’s $1.75bn in sales.

Chobani's market-share of the overall spoonable yogurt category is currently 19.8%, which translates to 37.6% share of overall Greek yogurt, the company said in a statement.

Yoplait tempers expectations for yogurt category

The decline in the overall market was even more severe for General Mills-owned Yoplait, which saw a 17% drop in its yogurt portfolio in the second quarter of 2016. 

"We know we have a good deal of work to do to turn around our yogurt business,"​ General Mills president and COO, Jeff Harmening, said during the company's end-of-year earnings call.

"We expect some improvement in the second half, but won't return to growth this year."

Americans still want yogurt

Many major yogurt brands may be seeing sales decline, but Chobani’s sales success in different yogurt subcategories signals that Americans are still interested in the dairy snack.

“While boom times ushered in by the novelty of Greek yogurt are fading, the yogurt category’s draw of convenient health, and the recent expansion of flavors and formats, helps retain interest and preserve participation in the market. Yogurt drinks are becoming increasingly popular among US consumers, and as adoption of the yogurt drinks segment grows, so too does innovation,”​ Beth Bloom, senior analyst, US Food & Drink at Mintel, told DairyReporter last October.

While the novelity of Greek yogurt may have tapered off, Chobani has remained relevant by innovating in the category with new product launches including Drink Chobani yogurt drinks and Chobani Flips.

The yogurt drink format has proved very profitable for Chobani, which launched its line of drinkable yogurt in July 2016.

“We think that yogurt drinks could ultimately account for 30-40% of the yogurt category,” ​Chobani chief marketing officer, Peter McGuinness, told FoodNavigatorUSA​.

Chobani Flips also met a consumer need for innovation in the category by incorporating mix-in ingredients, and Yoplait followed suit with a similar product, Yoplait Dippers, launched in January of this year.

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