Activia probiotic yogurt to make U.S. debut in 2006

by Eric Schroeder
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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — The Dannon Co., the U.S. fresh dairy unit of Groupe Danone, said it will introduce Activia in the United States beginning next year. According to Dannon, Activia is the first and only probiotic yogurt that is clinically proven to help naturally regulate your digestive system in two weeks, when eaten daily as part of a healthy and balanced diet.

Activia is already one of Groupe Danone’s best-selling yogurt products globally, generating some €650 million in 2004 sales in more than 20 countries, primarily in Europe and Asia. Globally, the brand achieved compounded annual sales growth of 24% between 2000 and 2004. Activia was first introduced in 1987 in France.

The probiotic yogurt and dairy drinks market is estimated to be approximately $10 billion globally, and, although the market in the U.S. is relatively small, the functional yogurt market is growing faster than 90%, according to Information Resources, Inc. The increase is being driven largely by Dannon’s DanActive, a fermented probiotic dairy drink.

"Dannon is the first name in yogurt in the U.S., and in bringing Activia and its benefits to the American marketplace we will continue to build our leadership with the next innovation in yogurt — probiotics," said Juan Carlos Dalto, president and chief executive officer, Dannon. "Americans are increasingly looking to food for benefits beyond basic nutrition, and probiotics, such as Activia, and our other great-tasting wellness products, including DanActive, do just this while accelerating growth in the already-expanding yogurt category. As a new product, Activia is unique in how it combines great taste and a clinically demonstrated benefit."

Dannon’s U.S. launch of Activia will be supported by a large 360-degree marketing plan, including advertising, consumer promotions and in-store promotions that will begin in February 2006. Activia will be sold nationwide in the yogurt section of nearly all food retailers in six flavors: strawberry, vanilla, blueberry, peach, prune and mixed berry. Activia will be available in 4-oz, 4- and 8-packs at a suggested retail price of $2.49 and $4.49, respectively.

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