Not Everything from Greece is Bad
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As General Mills continues to battle with struggling sales in Yoplait yogurt, the move is intended to fill an empty spot in their missed market. Partnerships to complement the new flavors include a collaborative agreement with the popular diet program company Weight Watchers International (NYSE: WTW). Branding should occur on new 100 calorie Greek Yogurts, and Yoplait Fruplait, which according to labeling has twice the fruit of the leading brand.
The current leader in the market, Choboni, owned by Agro Farma, is currently not listed on any market and is, according to paperwork filed with the New York Department of State, only issued 200 shares.
Greek Yogurt now accounts for a third of the $6.4 billion yogurt industry in the US. Yogurt currently accounts for 15 percent of General Mills $10.2 billion US retail division from the previous year.
The company has plans to also acquire Liberte Mediterranee (Private), a Canadian Greek Yogurt manufacturer. General Mills currently has a 51 percent stake in the brand, and plans to build distribution channels into the US markets.
General Mills Confident Amidst Tough Corn Prices
F the rise of corn prices in the US as a result of warm weather and lack of water, Corn futures are gradually decreasing. But General Mills maintains that customers should not see spikes in purchase prices, insisting the overall climate should improve as the year goes on.
General Mills expects costs to be up around 2 to 3 percent, a 10 percent increase from the previous year. The company outlines that they are 50 percent hedged on commodity costs, and that corn is only 5 to 10 percent of the company’s commodity basket, which makes their range somewhat precise.
The company is looking to expand its reach in all four of the BRIC nations, Brazil, Russia, China, and India. The company will integrate and acquire the Brazilian company Yoki Alimentos (private) during the first half of 2013, in a move to grow sales in the Brazilian market.
The benefits of investing in BRIC nations are the large populations that can have a middle-class of around 300 million people, almost the population of the entire US. These large populations allow for higher consumer spending and the benefit for new market potential.
China by this estimate is on the verge of having a middle-class population of 600 million people. The growth of affluent households can help to strengthen brands like Haagen-Dazs, Wanchai Ferry, Bugles, and Trix. The company already has plans to launch 50 new Haagen-Dazs shops in China by the end of 2013, bringing the operating total to 250 shops. By 2015, General Mills intends to make nearly $900 billion from China alone.
China currently generates $550 million in annual sales with a current growth rate of 20 percent. The company has outlined there may be a future for Yoplait, and Mooncakes.
"We have our eyes on India next," says Don Mulligan Chief Financial Officer. "We will get Yoki integrated and then do the groundwork to see what would be available at the right price in India." The company recently acquired an Indian spice and sauce company Parampara.
The company overall is seeking to fix struggling business markets and US Yogurt sales, which were recently hit hard by the emergence of authentic Greek Yogurt; despite the financial troubles in Greece a few businesses just got rich.
Choboni now has more than half the Greek Yogurt business inside the US and my fears are that perhaps General Mills may not be able to enter the market as a Greek Yogurt leader. The breakdown features Danone (NASDAQOTH: DANOY.PK) at 17 percent, and Fage SA at 13 percent; General Mills only captures 6 percent market share, in a category the company derives 15 percent of its US sales from.
Yoplait has by far been the largest Yogurt brand in the US since the year 2000, with Danone set to overtake that in terms of dollars. With dollars being of importance in this market and the need for brands to be socially engaged to ride trends, I’m uncertain about this company.
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