It seems only yesterday that Eden Vale and St Ivel had the yogurt market virtually to themselves. The two companies set the pace in the 1980s, only to see their share shrink in the 1990s with the growth of Müller, the explosion of new brands and massive product innovation in chilled pot desserts as a whole. In this hugely competitive marketplace both companies have been making strenuous efforts to grow their share on a variety of fronts. Eden Vale's strength lies in Ski, the UK's first yogurt brand dating back to 1963. With sales static overall in the adult sector ­ but climbing in low fat and virtually fat free ­ Eden Vale overhauled Ski last October with new packaging and range extensions. Ski marketing manager Kirstie Johnson says the repackaging was done to freshen up the brand's image: "Our aim was to attract a new generation of customers, while retaining our family focus." The range extensions include a thick and creamy variant aimed at revitalising the static family treat sector; Ski Smooth, a no bits' fruit yogurt aimed at a younger audience; and a 99% fat free mousse in passion fruit and lemon flavours with fruit pieces. A series of four-week price promotions have underpinned the relaunch. "Our share of the adult everyday sector now stands at 13%, a 2% rise for the year to the end of February," says Johnson. Eden Vale is spending £3m promoting Ski this year, with sampling roadshows and a TV campaign this month. Its leading children's brand Munch Bunch has been extended into the hand-held fromage frais sector with the launch last September of Squeezy Pot Shots. Pitched against sector leader Yoplait's Petit Filous Frubes, the product has sold extremely well, according to Munch Bunch marketing manager Antony Robson. "It now has 3% of the children's fromage frais sector," he says. Another development, Fruit Pots, a children's chilled fruit purée providing an alternative to ambient jars, has done less well, according to Robson. Last May, in a licensing tie-up with Mars, Eden Vale stepped into the chocolate desserts market with chilled pot versions of the Galaxy and Milky Way confectionery brands. Senior product manager Sarah Cochrane says the target is the adult and children's dessert markets. "Milky Way has been very successful and is now the fourth bestselling product in the children's treat sector," she says. St Ivel's strength lies in its development of the Cadbury confectionery brand into the leading player in the chocolate desserts sector. Marketing director Dave Hall says the Cadbury desserts brand, worth £31.5m, is driving the sector forward with overall volume sales up 16% this year [AC Nielsen]. Star performers are Cadbury's Mousse with 54% growth, and Twinpots up 39%. Children's and low fat chocolate desserts are the key growth areas, says Hall. In January St Ivel brought out Cadburyland mousse and Dairy Milk Buttons twinpot for kids, plus a lighter version of Cadbury's Trifle. "With access to the Cadbury confectionery brand, we have a huge opportunity to do lots more in the chocolate desserts category, which is still under developed," says Hall. Its Shape yogurt brand is in poorer shape, with sales down 13% according to the latest Information Resources' figures. St Ivel's response is a relaunch of the brand, with sharper packaging, new products and improved formulations, backed by a £10m marketing drive this year. One of its key launches is a low fat trifle, comprising layers of low fat custard, jelly and creamy topping. "Trifle as a sector has been in decline because of lack of innovation," says Hall, "so we see an opportunity with this development to drive growth." {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}