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Dannon CEO: Yogurt sales to increase through 2014

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO According to a Reuters report published Monday, one of the largest yogurt producers expects yogurt purchases to more than double within four years.

Yogurt consumption in the U.S. market is at least six times lower as compared to Western Europe, noted Gustavo Valle, Dannon CEO, during the Reuters Food and Agriculture Summit held in Chicago.

“For the future, we see double digit growth on a long-term basis,” he said. “In four years, we can double the consumption per capita.”

Valle added that yogurt sales, including its best-selling Activia brand, were continuing to grow around 15% through mid-February.

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Kimberly-Clark emphasizes women’s health through new Kotex brand

BY Allison Cerra

DALLAS Kimberly-Clark has launched a new feminine care brand that hopes to redefine the personal care category.

U by Kotex includes tampons, pads and liners available in brightly colored and eye-catching designs, and focuses on the importance vaginal health through a open dialogue, Kimberly-Clark said. The company said it was prompted to launch the line after the release of “Break the Cycle: A Study on Vaginal Health,” a study conducted online in August 2009 by Harris Interactive on behalf of U by Kotex, which surveyed more than 1,600 North American women ages 14 to 35 years. The study found that 7-in-10 women believe it’s time for society to change how it talks about vaginal health, yet less than half (45%) feel empowered to make a difference.

“For the past 50 years, advertisers — Kotex included — have been perpetuating this cultural stigma by emphasizing that the best menstrual period is one that is ignored,” said Andrew Meurer, VP North American group brands feminine/adult/senior care at Kimberly-Clark.  “The way the Kotex brand will be positioned in the future will be very different. Moving forward, the tone of the Kotex brand’s marketing will adhere to its new tagline, ‘Break the Cycle.'”

In line with the debut of U by Kotex, the brand is launching a national integrated marketing campaign that frankly addresses vaginal health. According to published reports, some of the televised advertisements, slated to premiere this week, were prohibited from using the word “vagina” on broadcast networks; yet the ads mock censorship regarding the taboos surrounding such open discussions about vaginal health.

“What we like to say is ‘We’re taking the category from institutional care to personal care,'” Meurer added.

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Gum, mints a breath of fresh air for sales

BY Allison Cerra

CHICAGO The United States Mint may be dealing with a recession, but there’s one mint that hasn’t been hit by the economic slump.

Gum, mints and breath fresheners market has seen sales grow since 2007, according to recent research by Mintel. The category has increased more than 10% and is expected to grow through 2014. The growth is driven by functional and environmentally-friendly packaging (50% and 19%, respectively), in addition to unique flavors (43%).

Despite the emphasis on health, breath-freshening remained the most important function of gum and mints in the minds of Mintel’s survey respondents. Nearly four times as many respondents cited this compared with a healthy function (43% vs. 13%).

“Although this market is not entirely recession proof; gum, mints and breath fresheners are faring well due to their low price points and the feeling that consumers are getting a small treat,” said Bill Patterson, senior analyst at Mintel. “In addition, innovative packaging and unique flavors are aiding in the upward sales momentum.”

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