Nounós Creamery uses the only Cheesecloth Bag Straining Method approved by the FDA in the US, which the team replicated from yogurt production used in their hometown villages in Greece. It takes three days to make the yogurt, co-founders John Belesis and Steven Ioannou told DairyReporter.
The pair realized that the US Greek yogurt market was missing the richness and unique flavors that they had grown up with in Greece, so they decided to develop an authentically Mediterranean option.
“The US has seen a multitude of products that are Americanized forms of ethnically inspired dishes. This segment has experienced a bit of over saturation as about 60-70% of yogurt shelf space is being occupied with forms of Greek Yogurt,” Belesis and Ioannou said.
This month Nounós announced it closed a series seed funding round led by AccelFoods, which will allow them to make new hires, increase marketing support and ramp up R&D for new product innovation.
Nounós Creamery said it will also expand the capacity on both its production and distributor sides, potentially extending into nationwide retailers like Whole Foods, Wegmans and The Fresh Market. It hopes the funding will help to make Nounós a household name.
“We are excited to be working with a team of investors, board members, new hires and partners that understand Nounós Creamery’s vision of what a Mediterranean premium yogurt should be. With their support, Nounós Creamery will turn the dairy industry on its head and innovate to new levels while spreading our hand-crafted creations throughout the US,” Ioannou said.
Growth in clean yogurt ingredients
Other investors in the AccelFoods funding are industry veterans David Wilson, founding investor of Siggi’s Dairy, and current Nounós Creamery board member Luciana Nuñez, former General Manager at Danone for premium yogurt.
Lauren Jupiter, managing partner of AccelFoods, said, “Utilizing a heritage cheesecloth strained technique and environmentally friendly glass packaging, Nounós Creamery is offering a fresh and unprecedented take on yogurt in the US. John and Steve are uniquely capable of bringing scale and efficiency to a craft-style product that is sure to disrupt the dairy aisle.”
Nounós Creamery said its yogurt is non-GMO and free from antibiotics, gluten, hormones, additives, thickeners and preservatives. It is high in protein and low in sugar with natural probiotics.
The Nounós Creamery low fat strained yogurt is available in Classic Plain, Vanilla Bean Blend, Blueberry Blend, Mixed Berries, Strawberry Vanilla, Peach Passionfruit, Coconut Mango, Banana Raspberry and Cherry Vanilla. It also offers three whole milk strained flavors and two family size whole milk tubs.
Nounós Creamery said it runs rotating seasonal flavors throughout the year, and currently has Pumpkin Spice and Apple Pie à La Mode for fall, with more to come for the winter.
“With new yogurt trends entering the market, it is normal to see Greek yogurt losing some real estate, which means that retailers are adjusting the aisle content rather than the size of the aisle. Therefore, its fall in real estate numbers is not strictly a reflection of the customers’ change of interest or taste for Greek yogurt, but rather a shift in the demand for better, premium yogurt,” Belesis and Ioannou said.
“Within the Greek category there is still one segment that is experiencing growth, the clean ingredients brands. Our use of farm-fresh components and inventive flavors make us a lead competitor within this space and gives our brand the continued opportunity for growth.”