I love yogurt and typically eat one cup every day. I've not hopped aboard the Greek yogurt bandwagon, as I really don't care much for the texture and taste, but I still stick with ‘regular' yogurt.
A year or two ago, as part of an effort to eliminate the consumption of artificial sweeteners in my diet, I switched from the low calorie (100 calories in most varieties) to the regular version.
By and large, I stuck with three different brands that I enjoyed the most. Yoplait, plus two store brands (Meijer's Purple Cow brand, and Aldi's house brand). My wife usually got me whatever brand out of the three that was the best price for the week between sale prices, coupons, etc.
It's been a good system, but just in the past few weeks, the Yoplait brands have made some significant changes:
- Lower Sugar – Yoplait regular yogurt (red cups) now have 25% less sugar than they did before. This reduces the calories in a cup (on average going from 170 to 150 calories in a cup). To offset, they increased the amount of milk in order to attempt to keep the same texture.
- New Advertising Campaign – To go along with their new formulations, they seem to be making a push to more TV and print advertising.
On the surface, both of these things seem like pretty good movements. After all, more healthy options seems to benefit all, and getting the word out has to be a good idea, right?
However, having seen both firsthand, I feel that either one could blow up in their face, and the combination could be catastrophic. Let me explain:
- The new taste – I tried out a few cups of the new formula and I was not overly impressed. You can definitely tell the lower sugar content as it's not as sweet. If this was the only change, I'd probably be OK. I could use a little less sugar in my diet, but the problem is that texture seems off. It seems more chalky and thicker at the same time. Honestly, it seems they sacrificed quite a bit just to offer a healthier option and cut 20 calories from their offering.
- The new ad campaign – The TV spots are hard to miss. They feature a young, pixie-type woman talking in a very heavy French accent about Yoplait. The colors and general theme can only be described as loud and bouncy. The first time my wife and I saw one of the commercials, we both looked at each other with an expression wondering if this was for real. I said: “I don't get it.” She asked, “Are they making fun of European people?” I'm not quite sure what message they're intending to send, but I'm pretty sure it's not being very well received.
Social Media As A Gauge
Many times, when I have opinions like this, I am not sure if I'm in the minority. Maybe people love the new flavors or think that the commercials are fantastic. Who knows? So, in order to get a read, I'll head over to Facebook and check out their product page. I've looked at their Facebook page. It appears I'm not the only one with concerns. People think the product change is too drastic (New Coke, anyone?) and wish they hadn't changed it or offered the new formula as an alternative instead of a replacement. Many people don't understand the commercials and turn the channel or fast forward through them as soon as they come on.
It seems the changes are not being well received at all. Yikes!
I love yogurt. I'd hate to see my number of favorable options reduce from three to two options. The way things are looking for Yoplait, I'm not convinced they'll stay in my rotation. We'll have to wait and see.