The ‘war on sugar’ has made life rather uncomfortable in yoghurts and desserts at times this year. Some of the category’s biggest brands found themselves the subject of unwanted attention in 2014, when the Action on Sugar group kicked off its campaign against ‘hidden sugars’.

The extent to which such campaigns have contributed to the category’s sluggish performance over the past 12 months is difficult to say: although total category volume losses have accelerated over the past year, much of this has been driven by own label rather than brands, so there is little to suggest shoppers have been put off the names that have found themselves in the spotlight.

That isn’t to say the brands don’t have challenges on their hands. While volume sales for own-label products have dropped by 6.6%, and those of branded products have risen by 3.6%, much of the gains on the branded side have been driven by promotions. Deals accounted for 40% of total category sales, according to Nielsen analyst Georgia Day, who adds the top three performing brands had, on average, 57% of their value sales on promotion.

yoghurts tpt

The impact on value sales of such heavy reliance on promotions is plain to see. The value of Danone’s Activia brand has been reduced by 7.4% year on year to just over £200m, while market leader Müller has seen value sales for its Corner range fall by £7.8m to £220m.

It’s not all been bad news, though. The Greek and Greek-style yoghurt trend continues to be the key growth driver for the category, with Greek yoghurt stalwart Fage seeing value growth of 21.2% over the past 12 months. Across the category, NPD has contributed £55m in sales over the past 12 months, with Greek-style yoghurts experiencing value growth of 35%.

Greek-style also continues to dominate the NPD pipeline of the bigger brands. Michael Inpong, marketing and R&D director at Müller, says the company has sold more than 17 million pots of its new Müllerlight Fruitopolis yoghurts - which have a fruit layer on top rather than at the bottom - since their launch in June, helping deliver value growth for the overall Müllerlight brand. “With the launch of our new Fruitopolis range, we were thrilled to offer shoppers a totally new and innovative way to enjoy the Greek-style yoghurt we know they love, and can feel good about eating,” he adds.

Meanwhile, Yoplait’s Liberté brand of Greek-style yoghurts has seen value sales grow by a whopping 590% over the past year, taking it from 50th to 26th best-performing brand.

Given such successes, expect to see plenty more variations on the Greek-style trend in the yoghurts aisle in 2015.


Top launch: Yollies by Kerry Foods

Everything tastes better on a stick, the saying goes, and Kerry Foods certainly seems to subscribe to that.

It claimed a “world first” in August with the launch of Yollies: a chilled solid yoghurt on a stick.

An extension of the Cheestrings brand, Yollies come in strawberry, raspberry and apricot flavours and are a response to the “lack of innovation” in the kids’ yoghurt category, says controller Lee Willett. A dedicated Yollies campaign will hit screens in the new year.