General Mills Might Be Going Off The Rails With Yoplait Yogurt

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?

My Impressions

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

mb-2015-07-signMany 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.

4 thoughts on “General Mills Might Be Going Off The Rails With Yoplait Yogurt”

  1. Greek yogurt may be the way to go instead. Plain, nonfat varieties can be quite low in sugar and very high in protein. Though I’ve been cutting back on dairy of late, Greek yogurt has been my choice.

    Interestingly, I’ve seen all kinds of “varieties” of yogurt out there, including Australian, Icelandic, etc. Not sure what the differences are, but they’re another example of marketing within the yogurt space.

    I do know what you mean about product changes impacting purchases. I’ve seen one restaurant around here make some changes that make me wonder “Why did they do that?” One would like to think that extensive market research would be done before repositioning a brand.

  2. The flavor thing is a bit of a dealbreaker for me. I always used to have the regular Yoplait but it really is chock full of sugar. The whipped version was a little better when I had to watch my sugar intake, but I didn’t love that it had artificial sweeteners either! I don’t know if you have Trader Joe’s near you but they have some different yogurt options. Sadly the cup I’ve got here is 35g of sugar so that’s not great.

    Since we don’t have regular tv anymore, I don’t know what their advertising looks like but it was rare for me to see a commercial that isn’t weird or annoying even when we did have tv. Apparently I don’t like being sold to.

    • Thanks for the tip on Trader Joe’s. I’ll have to try it. I do get a lot of yogurt from Aldi, which is owned by the same parent company, and that’s one of my favorites.

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