Pepsi and Greek yogurt -- now how does that sound as a winning combination? Let's remember that Pepsi owns Quaker and with the resources behind Pepsi they're smart to start producing flavoured Greek yogurts. Greek yogurt is a healthier form of yogurt due to the high amount of protein. Get yourself low fat and you already have an advantage over the conventional brands.
I think that Pepsi has finally stopped trying to convince consumers that their beverages can ever be healthy. With the sugar and artificial sweetener wars going forward, they're in a losing battle.
Another factor that comes into play is regarding America's fast food syndrome. Trying to make processed foods healthier gives the consumer the green light to eat these foods and feel good about it. It's being done everywhere: Vitamin Water, "Smart" popcorn, McDonald's oatmeal as well as food labels including "Omega 3 Fatty Acids," "Probiotic" and "Natural." And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Sales of Greek-style yogurt in the U.S. have jumped 2,500 per cent in the last five years, with annual sales this year predicted to reach $1.5 billion, an increase making it one of the "hottest growing food products" of all time. Keep in mind that Europe consumes three times the amount of yogurt than Canadians and the United States consumes double. So there's definitely room to grow.
Pepsi has teamed with an authentic German yogurt maker, Theo Muller under Quaker Oats and will be starting production in Europe and eventually moving to a brand new factory in New York.
They're trying to find the niche in the Greek yogurt market that hasn't yet been tapped. Pepsi's strategy is to launch "fun" Greek yogurt, which translates into "fun for you," "better for you" and "good for you."
They criticize that Greek yogurt today is chalky and dry and conventional yogurts are watery and tasteless. So how will they make things different?
Pepsi will launch traditional fruit flavours but with the added bonus of a pull away corner filled with sweet goodies, such as caramelized almonds, chocolate crunch balls and granola. There will also be a variety that will be called "Fruit Up" that comes in a mousse that sits on top of the yogurt to be stirred in which will excite the smelling sense of the consumer.
Today's big players in the Greek yogurt business is Chobani which has about 48 per cent of the market and Fage which has about 20 per cent. Move over guys, here comes Pepsi! These brands are more expensive but the target market doesn't seem to care. But Muller yogurt is not low in calories and fat. For 180 grams (six ounces), you'll be consuming around 220 calories, nine grams of fat, 13 grams of protein and 23 grams of sugar (which is about six teaspoons)! But an excellent source of protein. Conventional yogurts only have four grams of protein per serving.
So what's your vote? Will they succeed? Knowing North Americans, they still need healthy food to taste great. My bet is that we'll be consuming Pepsi's new yogurt, chocolate and all, but will feel like we're doing something right!
Follow Rose Reisman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@rosereisman