What Yoplait’s Collaboration with Dunkin Means for the Brand

In early 2019, Yoplait launched a limited-edition line of four Dunkin’-inspired yogurts. Two flavors, Apple Fritter and Boston Kreme Donut, fall under their traditional line, while French Vanilla Latte and Cinnamon Coffee Roll are part of the Whips sub-brand. This product collaboration appears normal enough at first glance, but upon deeper inspection, it’s indicative of the changing scene of the yogurt industry as a whole.

Yoplait dominated the yogurt market throughout the 2000s. However, the explosion of Greek yogurt – namely Chobani – in the late aughts challenged Yoplait and soon consumed a sizeable chunk of market share. Yoplait responded with their own line of Greek yogurt, but the damage was done. Soon, the yogurt market was thrown into total upheaval, with brands Siggi’s Icelandic Skyr, Fage, and Noosa succeeding on shelf.

These new brands and production styles jockey for who can out-do each other on lower sugar, higher protein content, cleaner labels, and lower calorie content – all while still maintaining great taste. Flavors of these pricier yogurts remain fruit-based, with curated options like Siggi’s Orange and Ginger or Noosa’s Blackberry Serrano. The yogurt market is now a stomping ground for health-conscious millennial and Gen Z shoppers, who enjoy the combination of convenience and health perks of the New Yogurt Phase.

Enter Yoplait now. The brand still represents the lower price tier, with their line of traditional, Whips, and Greek yogurt. Yoplait even attempted to mimic the trend: their introduction of Oui French-style yogurt checked premium boxes: new “style”, clean label, and a clever little glass jar.

However, the Dunkin’ line represents Yoplait splitting with the rest of the market, to make the best of their new positioning: the low-cost, non-trendy yogurt. Yoplait is significantly cheaper than the premium brands, and the Dunkin’ line is no exception.

The Dunkin’ line is a clear appeal to those who still eat Yoplait: consumers who don’t read the nutrition label and shoppers who don’t have the strongest purchasing power. The nutrition of the Yoplait line trails that of trendier brands, with the Boston Kreme yogurt having 7 grams more sugar in it than an actual Dunkin’ Boston Kreme donut. However, this isn’t a problem: the Dunkin’ line doesn’t target health-conscious consumers who pore over the nutrition label. Those consumers have already been lost to the premium yogurt market.

Instead, Yoplait seeks to convert non-yogurt eaters, consumers who need the sweet promise of a Dunkin’ flavored line to be the driving factor in their purchase. Their target market is no longer trendy or Better-For-You. Yoplait now makes yogurt for consumers who have been eating the same Yoplait for decades, who eat yogurt perhaps somewhat begrudgingly, who don’t read labels, who instead rely on the vague platitude that yogurt is “good for you”.

While this could be seen as bleak, this can be freeing as well. Yoplait no longer needs to compete head-on with the premium yogurts, so don’t expect to see Yoplait skyr anytime soon. Yoplait is uniquely situated in that since they can convert non-yogurt, non-health conscious eaters, they are free to market the “unhealthy”. This is where Dunkin’ comes in. No other premium yogurt would dare parallel themselves to a notoriously high-calorie brand.

Dunkin’ itself can see parallels to Yoplait: the lower cost option in an industry of premiums, namely Starbucks. Last year, Yoplait partnered with Girl Scout cookies (as did Dunkin’!). Yoplait may no longer enjoy the top of the market, but the so-called bottom is not a bad place to be either, so expect to see more fun flavors in the future.

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