Green Mountain Creamery: We’ve Made a ‘Gateway’ Skyr

Meagan McGinnes

Green Mountain Creamery wants to create a gateway to yogurt consumption for shoppers sour on the category.

The Vermont-based company launched in 2011 with the mission of making Greek yogurt approachable to consumers that don’t like its traditional taste or texture. Now, to compete in the evolving and crowded yogurt market, the brand is bringing that same mission to a new variety: Skyr, an Icelandic style yogurt known for its milder flavor profile. Aside from its children’s line, this is the company’s first foray beyond Greek-style yogurt.

Green Mountain, which is currently sold in over 2,000 locations such as Sprouts nationwide and Stop & Shop, launched its Icelandic-style yogurt earlier this year in more than 500 stores including Shaw’s, Sprouts and Costco. Distribution for the line, which retails for $1.30 per 5-ounce container, will continue to expand through 2018, according to Susan Knight, Green Mountain’s chief commercial officer.

Skyr has been in the spotlight as of late, especially after the category leader Siggi’s was acquired by Lactalis. But for Green Mountain’s consumer, the style is a natural progression toward a higher protein option.

“It’s about being approachable,” Knight said. “Thirty percent of all Americans who eat yogurt don’t like the taste of Greek yogurt. If you think about the size of that market and the number of people who want those nutritional benefits but just don’t like that taste, we feel like there is a huge potential there. And we think we can do the same with other styles.”

About half of the $8 billion in U.S. yogurt sales [in a year] came from Greek yogurt, but Greek sales are starting to fall off in mainstream retailers, according to Mintel’s 2016 yogurt report. The yogurt category as a whole is also seeing sales slow. This means that players big and small are looking to new form factors, flavors and styles to bring back growth.

One recent trend has been the emergence of indulgent options. The goal is to expand the day parts consumers are looking to the category. Last year Siggi’s launched an indulgent triple cream style skyr and has since launched a chocolate SKU. Green Mountain decided to launch its skyr with what Knight describes as “ice cream” flavors — vanilla bean, key lime sherbert, caramel cream and strawberry cream — in hopes of positioning the product beyond breakfast use occasions.

Knight said Green Mountain will be expanding to another new style or category before the end of 2018. The company will continue to look at trends to help develop future products, she said, but its core mission and Vermont roots will remain the driving force for innovation.

“We are copying our Vermont heritage in how we are launching our products,” Knight said. “That is we will be down-to-earth, very straight forward, very approachable. The more we continue to do that with other products, the better off we are going to be.”

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