The world's largest organic yoghurt producer is crossing the Atlantic next month in an attempt to attract a more mainstream consumer to the UK organic sector.
Stonyfield Farm, which is 80% owned by Groupe Danone, has developed a low-fat, organic yoghurt and fromage frais brand called Stony, which it claims will be the UK's first "healthy planet brand" by promoting ideas to protect the environment on packs.
The brand will take a more comical approach to existing organic lines in the UK to shed organics' "stuffy" image, according to CEO Gary Hirshberg.
"With penetration still in lower single digits there's room to bring some humour and lightness to the category. A lot of early organic products have been sober and that's OK for the core environmental type but the average person wants something fun."
The company is initially launching 10 UK-specific lines early next month, with listings in Sainsbury's, Asda, Tesco and Whole Foods Market. Products include a 450g low-fat vanilla yoghurt called Vanilla the Hun (rsp £1.39) and low-fat dessert pots including a 150g dessert called Consciously Caramel (69p).
It is also launching a range for babies, called Lil Stony, including wholemilk fromage frais in peach, strawberry, raspberry and banana flavours. The company has chosen the UK because of its sophisticated organic market, according to Hirshberg. "We wanted to do something here because it is probably the most mature organic market in the world," he said. "If we can prove our relevance here we can probably do it anywhere."
Stonyfield claims it will become a carbon-neutral food and drink company next month and intends to grow the UK organic dairy market and improve the environment. The company is sponsoring the world's largest climate awareness event, Live Earth, and also donates 10% of its profits to environmental initiatives.
Stony's UK entrance has been welcomed by Patrick Holden, director of the Soil Association. "This brand is one to watch," he said.