- In its new winter product lineup announced this week, General Mills featured several items that focus on yogurt, according to a company statement and website.
- The new products include the reintroduction of Yoplait Custard, Yoplait Greek 100, Yoplait Dippers, new Indonesian Vanilla Bean and Nicaraguan Coffee Bean flavors of its premium Liberté yogurt line, and a new Very Berry Cheerios cereal.
- Almost all of the new products appear designed to address General Mills' declining sales, according the Star Tribune.
Overhauling the yogurt segment, about 13% of the company's sales, is crucial for General Mills. The company's most recent quarter showed a 17% year-over-year sales decline in yogurt. In July, President and COO Jeff Harmening has committed to a major "renovation" of 60% of its yogurt brands in July, saying the company's portfolio was "not aligned with the trends."
These new products reflect the major food manufacturer's attempt to align with up-and-coming categories like Greek yogurt, gourmet and exotic flavors, and yogurt-as-a-snack. But while most of these product types are new to General Mills, they are not new ideas to the yogurt space.
Other manufacturers have sold low-calorie Greek yogurt varieties on the market for some time. Liberté's two new flavors are more high-end varieties of long-popular flavors that most yogurt brands have offered for decades. The success of these products will depend on how consumers view both brands. Liberté has a reputation as a more premium type of yogurt, and its new flavors — while common — offer international and exotic flair. The yogurts could also appeal to more sustainability-conscious consumers after the brand's products all became USDA organic certified as of earlier this year.
With the Yoplait Dippers, General Mills has taken an idea started by Greek yogurt behemoth Chobani and added its own twist. While Chobani's dips are savory, Yoplait's actual yogurt varieties and mostly sweet — chocolate raspberry chunk yogurt, caramelized banana yogurt, vanilla bean yogurt, chipotle ranch yogurt and coffee chocolate chunk yogurt. Each comes with a dipping snack included as part of the packaging, catering to the trend of convenient and better-for-you foods.
The oldest idea of them all — one that could perhaps help General Mills differentiate itself from the rest of the yogurt market —is the relaunch of Yoplait's signature Custard Yogurt, which disappeared from shelves a decade ago. There are no products currently on the market that are similar to the silky and thick yogurt, but its texture and taste are very different than the Greek-style yogurts that have come to dominate grocery stores today. Bringing back a unique and well known product with a strong nostalgia factor may just be what General Mills needs to jumpstart its sales.