PARIS — Greek yogurt has lost its luster, judging by third-quarter financial results from Danone S.A. Cécile Cabanis, chief financial officer, is not giving up on the category, though, as she spoke about Greek yogurt innovation in an Oct. 18 earnings call.
Within Danone’s Essential Dairy & Plant-based segment, which includes yogurt, third-quarter sales were up 0.8% to €3,240 million ($3,606 million), but sales volume was down 2.7%. Yogurt sales in North America declined because of a deteriorating price mix, reflecting competitiveness in the category. The decline came in Greek yogurt and conventional yogurt, Ms. Cabanis said. Other segments like children’s yogurt and plant-based yogurt alternatives continued to grow.
“Greek had enjoyed many years of the growth and was 43% of the (Danone yogurt) category,” Ms. Cabanis said.
Recently, unsuccessful innovation on Danone’s part and aggressive promotional pressure from competitors have caused Danone’s Greek yogurt business to decline, she said. A bright spot has come in Two Good low-fat Greek yogurt, which was launched earlier this year.
“Within E.D.P., Europe should continue to grow, and yogurt in the U.S. will be a focus for us,” she said. “We plan, for example, for our most successful innovation to be distributed nationwide. This is the case for our new low-sugar brand Two Good, which registered outstanding velocities and repeat rate.”
Paris-based Danone companywide posted sales of €6,418 million ($7,143 million) in the third quarter, which was up 3.7% from €6,186 million in the previous year’s third quarter. Sales volume, however, dropped 1.6%. Ms. Cabanis attributed the volume decrease to negative developments in the U.S. Greek yogurt segment and negative volumes in Russia.
Within Waters, third-quarter sales rose 0.8% to €1,258 million, but sales volume decreased 2.5%. Within Specialized Nutrition, third-quarter sales of €1,920 million were up 11%. Sales volume increased by 0.8%.
Companywide through the first three quarters of the year, Danone posted sales of €19,031 million, up 2.4% from €18,579 million in the same time of the previous year. Nine-month sales volume decreased 1.6%.