Müller has accused retailers of stripping value out of the yoghurt category by focusing on own-label lines at the expense of brands.

A disproportionate amount of space was being given to own-label and tertiary lines, claimed Müller's 2010 chilled yoghurts and pot desserts (CYPD) category report. That meant less room for the major brands, which were the ones driving category growth, it said. "This has resulted in a merchandising imbalance that is stripping value out of the category."

Müller warned retailers against underestimating the power of brands, which account for 80% of yoghurt sales by value [Nielsen 52w/e 20 February 2010]. The top CYPD brands had delivered £59.8m of the £62.8m in additional sales in the £2.1bn category over the past year [Nielsen].

Branded performance would be even higher if out-of-stocks were reduced, said Müller, claiming that 43% of shoppers who were unable to buy their chosen brand went to another store or did not buy at all. Stocking fewer lines and allocating more space to the biggest and bestselling brands would help alleviate out-of-stocks, it added.

The report recommended ways retailers could increase sales, such as dual siting, simplifying layouts and better use of signposting. The company also identified snacking, breakfasts and lunchboxes as key areas for growth. "Another opportunity we are exploring in grocers is the use of pallet chillers positioned at the front of stores to attract consumers who don't habitually shop the yoghurts and pot desserts fixture," it added.

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