As Greek yogurt has grown from a niche product to a major food player, much of the buzz has been about how the thick and creamy blends fit the growing desire that consumers have for protein.
But what about the taste? That is where General Mills is hoping to steer the conversation as it seeks to make up ground in the category with its Yoplait Greek yogurt, which the marketer has relaunched with a new formula, packaging and advertising.
In its first campaign, debuting this week, Yoplait declares that "it's time healthy gets a dose of happy." The series of spots carry the tagline "it's time to lick the lid again." The ads are by Olson, which recently won the Yoplait Greek account.
At first, Greek consumers gravitated to the product's simple ingredients, and as it entered the mainstream "people talked about the texture and high protein," said Michael Harad, Yoplait's marketing director. "But now we believe there's an opportunity to make the product taste as great as a yogurt can taste."
Yoplait needs any opening it can get. The brand, a traditional yogurt powerhouse, got a late start in the Greek segment, and then stumbled with formulas that used a thickening additive rather than the traditional straining methods used by competitors such as Chobani, which is the market leader.
Yoplait's new formula will adhere to the authentic Greek straining methods. Yoplait hopes to gain an edge by making sure the fruit is fully blended. Also, the formula has a milder taste profile than some competing brands, Mr. Harad said. "We believe there are less sour notes ... and more true dairy notes that come through the yogurt," he added.
Yoplait has already gotten momentum from its Yoplait Greek 100-calorie variety, which was launched last year and uses the same method as the new regular Greek version. The product has helped General Mills reach 8% Greek yogurt share this year, up from 5.9% last year, while market leader Chobani has seen its share decline to 38.6% from 45.7%, according a recent report from Sanford C. Bernstein. Greek represents 45% of the total yogurt market, according to Bernstein.