Yogurt is creamy, irresistible, and totally ruthless. That’s right, the yogurt aisle has become a battlefield. Who would have thought little cup of dairy, could be so powerful? Marketers pay attention. There is a smack down going on between Chobani…and well everyone else.

First doesn’t mean best

This now commoditized category started before Greek was even a thing. Dannon, a 75 year old brand built the category. It was the first branded perishable dairy item to be sold coast to coast in the United States. Dannon introduced the Greek yogurt brand Oikos in 2010 but before that, there was Fage.  Fage was the number one yogurt in Greece. And for a while they were the number one Greek Yogurt in America. Now they only have 14% market share compared to Chobani’s 47%.  And look how much this legacy brand is suffering:  Yoplait, a General Mills brand, has seen their market share go from  25% to 19% over the course of five years. Yet more bad news for General mills.

The Chobani Craze

So how did Chobani in just 12 years, Americanize  Greek yogurt? How did they manage to rake in  $1 billion in sales in a five year span. Part of their success was incredible marketing. But another important part has been great innovation, and we can all learn from that.  Their list of innovations is constantly growing and includes their ingenious flip cups,  Simply 100, and their popular Café” in NYC, where you can enjoy Chobani yogurt with artisanal ingredients, creating the kind of experience today’s consumers really want. And they recently launched  drinkable yogurts and Meze Dips.

Chobani Speaks Consumer

So why does Chobani do so much better than some of their legacy competitors with similar innovations?

While food giants have the power when it comes to distribution, it doesn’t mean that their brand speaks to consumers. John Grubb, managing partner at Sterling-Rice Group says companies who try to copy trendy new products, “suffer from a lack of culinary distinction.” Not so with Chobani.  On their website they have something called “Chobani Way”. Here the  brand is completely transparent. That’s  something most legacy brands just aren’t yet comfortable with, and they are paying the price.

Marketers, Watch Out for the Newcomers

Just because we’re talking about yogurt, doesn’t mean we’re not talking about your brand. We all know new brands have the potential to get hot fast!  Have you heard of Noosa yogurt? If not I’m sure you will soon. Noosa began by selling at farmers markets and then made its way to the shelves at Walmart and Publix. Noosa is one to watch because while it is rapidly growing it has “stayed true to its grassroots appeal”.  Check out Co-founder Koel Thomae’s wise words, “We’re also so dedicated to what makes us different and unique. And part of that is being able to control the quality of the product.”

Getting on Chobani’s Level

You can’t be slow in the yogurt (or any) business. It’s critical to find out what makes your brand Irresistible to today’s consumers. Do you want to take your brand to the next level? Let’s talk.