Two years after its return to the Sodiaal cooperative, Yoplait announces that it will no longer lose money in 2023 and will regain market share. The brand now wants to boost the “white yogurt” category with a range of 9 references sold in cartons.
Two years after its return to the Sodiaal cooperative, on December 1, 2021, Yoplait is once again “in the green” in France, rejoices Yves Legros, general director of Yoplait. Thus, while Yoplait lost money in 2021 and 2022, its general director announced, during a press conference on November 7, a forecast turnover of 750 million euros estimated at the end of 2023excluding franchises, “i.e. an increase of +25% in two years”, he slips. The “à la petite fleur” brand can thus claim to be the national ultra-fresh brand which is gaining the most market share: 11.3% at the end of September 2023 (over a rolling year) compared to 10. 7% in 2021, in value. “This gain in market share is explained by the very good performance of the group’s brands, notably Perle delait, YOP and Petits Filous which resisted the inflationary period well, but also by the strong success of Yoplait on the skyr segment, the most dynamic of the ultra-cool department, analysis Yves Legros. In this segment of skyr, an Icelandic dairy specialty from the same family as yogurt, Yoplait has gone from 10% market share in 2021… to 32% in 2023. The 850 gram pot of skyr from the Yoplait brand would thus be the best-selling in the entire ultra-fresh market.
Putting “collective” back into Yoplay
If Sodiaal invested 28 million euros in industrial facilities – the three Yoplait factories – since December 2021, Yoplait also says it owes its return to growth to “a return to the basics”. Nearly 60 years after its creation by Sodiaal, the brand has decided to put its fundamentals forward: “taste, product quality, accessibility”shares Yves Legros. “We involved employees in the process, by organizing blind tests at the headquarters and in the factories from the first day of the recovery. Over the past 18 months, more than 2,000 people have tested the products, deciphers the general director of Yoplait. We also set up a panel of 280 families among the 1,250 people who work at Yoplay to test the products, at home and with children, over time. We of course also went to meet consumers but also breeders, through farm visits or the organization of events. We have thus placed the teams, breeders and consumers at the heart of our actions by instilling a collective culture.”
The brand thus seeks to rediscover its “pioneering spirit”. “Yoplait has always been known for creating market segments: we created fruit yogurt with Panier de Yoplait, drinking yogurt with YOP, yogurt in a tube with Les Petits Filous”says Myriam Riedel-Kienzi, marketing director and international BU of Yoplait, who announces the launch of an innovation: a yogurt… in a brick marketed from January 2, 2024. The idea: a new format and a new use to reinvent the white yogurt segment while the French buy yogurt 36 times a year, notes the brand. “As soon as we returned to the cooperative, we made the decision to seek growth in white yogurts, a growing segment, with the mission of always better promoting the milk of the farmers of the cooperative to which our brand belongs” , contextualizes Yves Legros.
An eco-designed yogurt carton
Yoplait in a brick will therefore be the brand’s first “pouring yogurt”. Yoplait has imagined an offer of 9 references to broadly target consumers: plain brewed, flavored, with probiotics, Greek style, rich in proteins or, even, lactose-free. A yogurt that seems to tick all the CSR boxes : made in France, sold in “greener” packaging and fighting against waste. Thus, its container is an eco-designed brick (78% renewable materials) weighing 750 grams, the equivalent of 6 pots of yogurt. The packaging aims to be economical with half as much packaging as a pack of 6 Yoplay yogurts, but also 75% less plastic. Yoplait in brick also has markings on the pack intended to facilitate folding and empty the brick as much as possible to combat food waste. The range will be manufactured in France in the historic Le Mans factory, the first Yoplait factory created by the cooperative.
18 months of R & D were necessary to develop these recipes and allow the same consistency as a “classic” yogurt, with a creamy texture, while ensuring that the product is fluid enough to be poured without loss. For Myriam Riedel-Kienzi, “this innovation is perfectly in line with Yoplait’s values. We meet the expectations of French consumers who want simple, but delicious products, in more responsible family packaging and at an accessible price”. The recommended retail price is therefore 1.99 euros, “knowing that the average of brands on the natural brewed market is greater than 2 euros”adds the marketing and international BU director of Yoplait, who continues on the practicality of the “pack”: “The packaging is practical because it allows you to pour the desired dose of yogurt and personalize it. It is also practical because it takes up less space in the fridge when stored lying down.” For this product innovation, Yoplait highlights its “mother” brand, which is adorned with a new logo: the 6 petals which mark the return to cooperation and the brand’s link to nature.
Around 15% of the ultra-fresh market?
Is brick yogurt the future? “The first assessments we have suggest that this type of use could cover 15% of the ultra-fresh market in the medium term.shares Gaël Durand, deputy general manager of Yoplait, in charge of the Europe Business Unit. For the moment we are not planning more because we believe that for certain uses, such as dessert – which is a single consumption -, consumers are not yet ready to switch to bricks. Yoplait is optimistic. “We conducted a lot of studies to understand whether consumers liked the taste and were ready to adopt the use of the brick. What makes us extremely confident is that before trying the product, 6 out of 10 consumers 10 tell us that they want to buy it; when after trying the product, at home, 86% say they “really want to buy it”“declares Myriam Riedel-Kienzi.
For Yoplait, the challenge will therefore be to make people taste their product. A communication campaign, signed Libre Mullenlowe, will be deployed in two phases: in March-April and September 2024, with a common thread throughout the year. A poster campaign will be visible in the streets and in stores, close to consumers, with messages intended to be “offbeat”. Spots will also be broadcast on television. Finally, the brand will use digital to explain the use and benefits of the product. “We have planned a second communication, more specific to the spirit of Yoplayspecifies Gaël Durand. Building on the group’s cooperative spirit, we will involve all producers in the process of introducing and testing the product to consumers, through in-store events for example. We will do the same with nour employees to whom we offer to be part of an ambassador program whether they are in Paris or in the regions. Traditionally, they will be able to participate in in-store events, but also have their neighbors or family test the product. reveals the deputy general manager of Yoplait. Objectives: that 9 out of 10 people will have been exposed to this product in France by the end of 2024 and that a third of them will have had the opportunity to test yogurt in a brick.