Yogurt innovation 2013: Bites, Flips and Tubes on tap

by Keith Nunes
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KANSAS CITY — As the yogurt category enters 2013, two of the industry’s leading manufacturers, Chobani and General Mills, have the spigot on their new product pipelines wide open.

Chobani, New Berlin, N.Y., plans to introduce a spate of products next year.

“Our goal at Chobani is to continue building upon the limitless possibilities of Greek yogurt, and create innovative products specifically designed for usage occasions,” said John Heath, vice-president of new ventures and innovation. “Using consumer insights, we look across the pleasure spectrum – flavors, textures, taste combinations and packaging formats – to bring new excitement and enjoyment to our deliciously simple, authentic yogurt.”

Leading the Chobani lineup next year will be Bites, 3.5-oz cups of blended Greek non-fat and low-fat yogurt. Each product will feature 8 grams of protein and will target the afternoon snacking day-part. Chobani Bites will be available in four flavors, including orange, caramel and pineapple, coffee and dark chocolate chips, and raspberry and dark chocolate chips. Bites will have a suggested retail price of $2.99 for a package of four.

Children will be the target audience for Chobani’s Champions Tubes. The new packaging format will be marketed as an on-the-go snack option for children. Tubes will feature four flavors, strawberry, cherry, blueberry and strawberry banana, and have a suggested retail price of $2.79 for a package of eight.

Consumers in the Northeast will be the first to try Chobani Flip, a Greek yogurt product that features inclusions in the lid. By flipping the new product consumers will be able to create six flavor pairings. The flavors will include vanilla with corn flakes, honey oats and pecans, key lime with graham crumbles and white chocolate, strawberry with honey oats, honey with banana, coconut with dark chocolate and almonds, and vanilla chocolate chip with raspberries.

General Mills, Minneapolis, will not be sitting idly by next year. The company plans several new product introductions that will be featured in dairy aisles nationwide.

In 2012, General Mills’ Yoplait USA business unit introduced several new products, including Yoplait Greek 100, Yoplait Simplait and Yoplait Fruplait. In 2013 the company plans to extend the flavor range of Greek 100 and innovation with the debuts of Yoplait GoGurt Twisted and Yoplait Pro-Force.

GoGurt Twisted is an extension within the GoGurt brand of tube yogurt and will feature flavor pairings such as strawberry mango. The Pro-Force product line is targeted toward children and contains two-times the protein of other yogurts targeting the youth demographic. The company said the product is intended for “tweens with active” lifestyles and will be available in strawberry and mixed berry flavors.

General Mills isn’t strictly focusing its new product efforts on supermarkets. The company is also in the process of introducing Greek 100 in food service outlets and is rolling out Yoplait ParfaitPro. The ParfaitPro product gives food service operators an easy way to prepare layered yogurt parfaits, according to the company.
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