MINNEAPOLIS — A drop in yogurt sales hasn’t soured expectations for General Mills, Inc.
Although its Yoplait brand’s net sales in the United States slipped 5% during fiscal 2013, ended May 26, the company forecasted growth for the coming year.
“In the U.S., we fell short of our goal to renew annual sales growth (in yogurt) in 2013,” said Ken Powell, chairman and chief executive officer of General Mills, during a June 26 call with financial analysts to discuss fiscal 2013 earnings. “However, we did post a modest increase for the fourth quarter of the year, and we intend to build on that momentum in 2014.”
Sales strengthened slightly in the second half of the year with help from pricing adjustments in the core-cup business and the launch of Yoplait Greek 100-calorie yogurt, which is projected to exceed $100 million in sales in its first year, the company said.
“We will be bringing new flavors to that, multi-packs, all the things that we can do to continue to give that product the shelf space — the growing shelf space — that it will deserve,” Mr. Powell said.
The company also hopes to accelerate growth with expanded distribution of Canadian yogurt brand Liberte and new launches that include a high-protein variety of Yoplait Go-Gurt squeezable yogurts and Yoplait Fruitful yogurt, which contains a third of a cup of real fruit per serving. Set to debut in July is a line of Yoplait Greek blended yogurts in strawberry, blueberry, vanilla, coconut, tangerine and pineapple varieties.“The combined impact of this Greek innovation that we are bringing I think will give us continued very high growth in that segment, and that is going to help our top-line sales growth next year, obviously,” Mr. Powell said.