Recent launches from Danone include Dannon Creamery, a line of dairy desserts made with Greek yogurt and topped with fruit sauces.
PARIS — A slowdown in the yogurt category suggests Greek has peaked, but new innovations from The Dannon Co., a division of Paris-based Groupe Danone, are set to shake up the market. On the way are Dannon Light & Fit Protein Shakes, featuring a strawberry flavor with 140 calories and 12 grams of protein per serving.
Innovation is one piece of Danone’s strategy to drive growth in the yogurt category. Distribution and strategic partnerships also are areas of focus for the company.
“There is no category growth at the moment,” said Pierre-Andre Terisse, chief financial officer of Danone, during an Oct. 15 call with financial analysts to discuss third-quarter performance. “It is slightly negative volume-wise, slightly positive value-wise, but it’s around zero. This is clearly driven by a growth of the Greek, which has slowed down versus the pace of the previous quarters. Danone is growing in line with the market or is stable in line with the market, which means that we are confirming our leaderships. And when I say leaderships I’m talking of the leadership on the category but also the leadership on the Greek segment.”
To broaden its reach and relevance, Danone has teamed with Starbucks to supply Greek yogurt for parfaits and smoothies served at the coffee chain and has formed an alliance with Partnership for Healthier America to improve the nutritional profile of its products. The company also has joined the Kellogg Co. to develop YoCrunch Greek yogurt packaged with Kellogg’s ready-to-eat cereal, including Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops and Special K brands. The product offers a unique proposition in the crowded dairy case, Mr. Terisse noted.
Recent launches also include Dannon Creamery, a line of dairy desserts made with Greek yogurt and topped with fruit sauces in such varieties as blueberry cheesecake, lemon cheesecake and caramel cheesecake.
“There are good first signs of what we have launched,” Mr. Terisse said. “Dannon Creamery is showing interesting signals.”
The company also expanded into the freezer aisle this year with the debut of Dannon Oikos Greek Frozen Yogurt in six varieties that include vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, cafe latte, black cherry and key lime.
“It’s far too early to comment about whether or not these are going to be future tools for strong growth in the category, but there are interesting positive signals from these innovations,” Mr. Terisse said. “We’ll continue to launch some of them as we move forward into 2015.”For the third quarter, Danone reported organic growth of 6.9%, reflecting solid performance across markets despite challenging consumption trends.