Probiotics have come a long way in a very short space of time. Just a few years ago, the mention of Yakult would have been met with a bewildered shrug or snorts of derision. It is now one of the biggest brands in one of the fastest growing grocery markets.
Danone Actimel and Müller Vitality have taken their own well-known yogurt brand names and transferred the brand equity to the burgeoning functional drinks sector. Danone has stretched its advantage at the top of the list with growth of 46%, which is a remarkable achievement. The probiotic Müller brand has also enjoyed great success, largely on the back of its continued dominance of the yogurt market.
Yakult, meanwhile, has remained a force to be reckoned with despite the more familiar yogurt names blazing a trail. The launch of Yakult Light, a less sweet version than the original, in April 2002 has revitalised the brand and added more than £6m to the overall brand value.
Despite all the probiotic activity, Yop has managed to maintain growth and is the only regular yogurt drink in the top five brand ranking. Nestlé Munch Bunch and Innocent’s yogurt smoothies are just outside the top five but growing steadily and are likely to be Yop’s nearest challengers in the next few years.
As a result of all this activity, flavoured milk has been left in the shadows. However, the market has continued to grow with market leader Frijj going from strength to strength. Its seasonal, short-term brand extensions maintain interest in the brand and indeed the market as a whole.
Yazoo has kept the pressure on Frijj after losing its position as market leader in 2002 and remains way ahead of its nearest rival Mars.
The Active Energy drink has suffered, despite the return of the special edition Extra Choc variant.
Perhaps the proliferation of other energy drinks in the soft drinks market has meant that the sort of energy provided by this product is no longer sufficient to impress consumers.