General Mills said Monday it will roll out its Yoplait yogurt brand in China. The new yogurt lines will be released in hypermarkets, supermarkets and convenience stores in Shanghai.
Three yogurt products from Yoplait will be available: Perle de lait, a thick and creamy French-style yogurt; Panier de fruits, the first fruit on the bottom yogurt in the category; and O’Fruit, a drinkable yogurt with big fruit pieces that requires an extra-large straw to drink.
“Our entry into China with Yoplait is a major milestone in General Mills history,” said Ken Powell, General Mills chairman and chief executive officer. “We're excited about the prospects for growth across our global yogurt business. Yogurt has been one of the hottest food categories in the world over the past decade. We like our positions in key developed markets, and we see plenty of room for future growth as category consumption continues to develop in emerging yogurt markets."
According to Euromonitor, yogurt is a $10 billion dollar category in China, with sales growing at a double-digit pace. General Mills said it will focus on launching the brand in Shanghai and grow outward on a city-by-city basis before expanding geographically.
"With the tremendous economic growth in China, consumers are increasingly demanding better quality and experience of foods," said Gary Chu, senior vice president and president of General Mills Greater China. "Chinese consumers like the health benefits of yogurt and we are thrilled to add our world-class Yoplait products to our growing portfolio of brands and products that Chinese consumers have come to love and trust."
Yoplait's launch is China is the largest expansion of the Yoplait International brand since General Mills assumed a 51 percent controlling interest in Yoplait S.A.S. in 2011, according to the company. Sodiaal, a French dairy cooperative, continues to hold the remaining ownership stake.
General Mills China has grown at a 15 percent CAGR for the past four years with $700 million in annual sales. Haagen-Dazs comprises more than half of the company’s Chinese business while Wanchai Ferry dim sum accounts for a third.