Product Overhead Coyo

Source: CoYo 

Products were due to disappear from UK shelves at the start of October after licensees Paul and Bethany Eaton terminated their agreement with CoYo’s parent in Australia

The Australian owners of plant-based yoghurt alternative CoYo have reaffirmed their commitment to the UK after the brand’s licensees terminated their manufacturing agreement last month.

The Grocer reported last week that husband and wife team Bethany and Paul Eaton – who had held the UK licence for the brand since 2011 – had terminated their agreement with CoYo’s Queensland-based parent, leading to the disappearance of the brand from supermarket shelves.

However, CoYo’s Queensland-based co-founder and director Sandra Gosling told The Grocer this week that it remained committed to the UK market and was “here to stay”.

In a hint of the disruption caused by the Eatons’ decision to walk away from the brand, she added it was “very disappointing we were informed that the Eatons had ceased manufacturing our product range without any prior notification”.

“This unexpected decision has resulted in a temporary inconvenience for both our customers and the multitude of retailers who have supported the CoYo brand over the years,” Gosling said. “However, I can assure you we are still very committed to delivering delicious food for healthy people in the UK.” 

While acknowledging re-establishing production “would take some time”, Gosling suggested she and her family would now take a more active role in selling the brand in the UK.

CoYo to disappear from UK shelves as licensing agreement ends

“What we have learned since establishing CoYo is that no one is better positioned to deliver our products to the standard and quality we have become known for than us,” she said. “On this basis, we are exploring partners who can assist us in delivering our products to UK retail shelves to the exact specifications we intended, and with the brand integrity we have become known for in the past 12 years.”

Gosling declined to comment on the exact reasoning behind the Eatons’ decision to end the partnership.

But in response to her statement, Bethany Eaton told The Grocer she had received “little to no support or engagement from CoYo in Australia”, since 2018, while it was “clear this is no longer the same product we brought to the UK more than 10 years ago”.

Despite “many attempts to speak with them about our plans, we were either ignored or denied a meeting”, Eaton said. “Earlier this year we were told categorically to contact them once every six months about operational and marketing issues only,” she claimed.

Eaton declined to comment further on the drivers behind her decision due to “legal reasons.”

However, “one reason we can discuss was the brand’s move away from vegan”, she said. “We were shocked to discover earlier this year that CoYo Australia had released a honey flavour yoghurt – going against all our vegan principles. The following day we were emailed and told to remove vegan from all our products, with no notice. CoYo has also gradually changed its recipe over the years, reducing the actual coconut content in the product to now just 60%.”

Lack of clear ‘dairy-free’ regulations could put consumers at risk, warns CoYo founder