MINNEAPOLIS — General Mills, Inc., is bolstering its Yoplait yogurt arsenal with a new line of French-style yogurt called Oui by Yoplait. The recipe is inspired by Yoplait Saveur d’Autrefois, a yogurt General Mills has sold only in France for 20 years.
“We wanted to bring something special to our U.S. consumers — something we have been enjoying during visits with our French colleagues for many years, but hard to replicate in large quantities here in the U.S.,” said David Clark, president of U.S. Yogurt at General Mills. “Oui by Yoplait introduces an entirely new category of yogurt to the U.S. using a recipe that has been enjoyed for decades in France.”
Oui by Yoplait is made by pouring ingredients into individual glass pots that set after eight hours, producing a thick and creamy yogurt, the company said. The rigidity of the glass helps maintain the yogurt’s integrity, allowing it to stabilize without the use of added corn starch or gelatin.
“It’s the simplest way to make yogurt, but it’s also the hardest to do at scale,” said Doug Martin, director of Yoplait for General Mills. “We’re really going back and embracing the way yogurt was made in the past.”
Oui by Yoplait is designed to be cut with a spoon, not stirred, to preserve its thick texture, General Mills said.
“I grew up in France eating yogurt cultured in a pot and have fond memories of this simple, French style way of making delicious, fresh-tasting yogurt,” said Brice LeRoy, product developer for General Mills. “I’m honored to be part of the team that breathed new life into this heritage Yoplait recipe, giving Americans something refreshingly new in the yogurt aisle.”
Made with non-G.M.O. ingredients such as whole milk, cane sugar, fruit and yogurt cultures, the yogurt contains no artificial preservatives, no artificial flavors and no colors from artificial sources. The plain variety is made with only two ingredients — whole milk and yogurt cultures. The remaining seven flavors — strawberry, blueberry, black cherry, vanilla, coconut, lemon and peach — contain eight or fewer ingredients. The fruit varieties include fruit at the bottom of the pot “with the intention of adding a small amount of fruit to each bite without stirring the yogurt and disrupting the thick texture,” General Mills said.
General Mills’ introduction of Oui by Yoplait arrives amidst a sales slump for the yogurt category in the United States. Overall yogurt sales fell by 2.8% in the last year, according to data from Nielsen. General Mills reported a 20% drop in its U.S. yogurt sales last quarter.
The Oui by Yoplait launch fits into General Mills’ strategy to boost its yogurt segment with more premium offerings, a plan Jeff Harmening, president and chief operating officer of General Mills, discussed during a March 21 earnings call with financial analysts.“We have work to do to reposition our U.S. yogurt portfolio into faster growing, more premium yogurt segments,” Mr. Harmening said during the call. “We’ll do that through core renovation on our existing lines and innovating on the emerging segments in the yogurt category.”