MINNEAPOLIS, June 8, 2015 (PRNewswire) — General Mills today launched its Yoplait yogurt brand in China. Three new yogurt lines will be rolling out in hypermarkets, supermarkets and convenience stores in Shanghai, giving consumers new options in China's premium yogurt market: 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 category in China, with sales growing at a double-digit pace. General Mills is focusing Yoplait's initial launch in Shanghai and plans to grow the brand through a city-by-city approach 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. Sodiaal, the leading French dairy cooperative, continues to hold the remaining ownership stake.
"We are thrilled to share the great taste and quality of Yoplait with Chinese yogurt lovers. We're confident they're going to love Yoplait," said Olivier Faujour, president of Yoplait International.
Yoplait's entry into China is a significant step forward in building the global Yoplait brand. With nearly $4 billion in retail sales worldwide and available in more than 50 markets, Yoplait is the strong No. 2 player in the $83 billion global yogurt category.
Today's introduction also represents a significant step forward for General Mills China business, which has grown at a 15 percent compound rate over the past four years with nearly $700 million in annual sales. Haagen-Dazs makes up more than half of the company's Chinese business, with Wanchai Ferry dim sum accounting for about a third and its snacks portfolio making up the rest.
About General Mills
General Mills is one of the world's leading food companies, operating in more than 100 countries around the world. Its brands include Cheerios, Fiber One, Haagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Yoplait, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Wanchai Ferry, Yoki and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., USA, General Mills had fiscal 2014 worldwide sales of US $17.9 billion.