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Yoplait Looks Back to its Roots with New Yogurt Line Oui
Photo by General Mills

Yoplait Looks Back to its Roots with New Yogurt Line Oui

The yogurt company, founded in France and operated by General Mills, is introducing an artisanal yogurt to the market.

Just a decade ago, Greek-style yogurt made up only 1 percent of U.S. yogurt sales. Yoplait and Dannon controlled 71 percent of the market in 2007, according to Bloomberg data, while Chobani was just landing on food shelves.
 
The market looks a lot different now.
 
As consumers flocked to Greek yogurt—which makes up more than 50 percent of all U.S. yogurt sales today—Yoplait’s share soured. General Mills’ chief yogurt brand now controls 19 percent of the market, placing it third behind Dannon and Chobani.
 
Despite its many attempts, the Golden Valley-based food conglomerate struggled to meet changing consumer demand for a thicker Greek yogurt. Sales nationally from its yogurt division have slipped, down from about $1.5 billion in 2011 (when General Mills acquired a majority stake in Yoplait) to about $1.3 billion in its most recent fiscal year.
 
Investors have hounded the company, demanding a turnaround plan. On Monday, General Mills answered with what David Clark, the company’s president of U.S. Yogurt, said, “introduces an entirely new category of yogurt” to the country.
 
Oui by Yoplait, an artisanal yogurt that uses a traditional French recipe, is set to hit stores in July. The new yogurt will come in eight flavors: plain, vanilla, strawberry, blueberry, black cherry, coconut, lemon and peach.
 
Oui’s most distinctive feature is the glass jars in which it is prepared. Unlike other yogurt-making processes where ingredients are cultured in large pots and then divided into individual cups, Oui is made by pouring the ingredients into each individual glass jar, allowing the yogurt to culture atop a layer of fruit pieces over an eight-hour period.
 
“It’s the simplest way to produce yogurt,” said Yoplait director Doug Martin, “but it’s also the hardest to do at scale.”
 
The costs to produce Oui will push it above other Yoplait varieties. Suggested retail price is $1.49 a piece.
 
Historically, General Mills is known as a yogurt innovator, the Star Tribune noted. The company was the first to put yogurt in a tube (its Go-Gurt brand) and pioneered the idea of mixing in real fruit pieces.