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Dannon Looks to Tell New Brand Story Through Yogurt Partnership with Starbucks

Posted by Dale Buss on September 25, 2013 10:52 AM

Dannon believes that its Greek-style-yogurt partnership with Starbucks will be great for the Dannon brand even though its marque is taking a secondary position in the arrangement to the chain's Evolution Fresh brand.

Evolution Fresh, Inspired by Dannon "is a way for us to bring a new brand story without undermining any of our other brand stories," Gustavo Valle, CEO of Dannon USA, told brandchannel. And it provides the company with the crucial opportunity to extend yogurt consumption further in the day.

Starbucks and Groupe Danone, the Paris-based parent of Dannon USA, announced in July that they were co-creating the new line to place in Starbucks outlets next spring and in grocery stores the next year. The idea for Starbucks was to expand its better-for-you offerings under its recently acquired Evolution Fresh brand, which began as a juice company, and to find a way for the chain to tap into the Greek-yogurt craze.

Danone, Valle said, determined that the mashup brand "represents, first, the value of both companies" and "is a way for us to really put yogurt in the mind of consumers" in a forward-looking way.

"Greek-style completely renovated" the yogurt business, he said. Evolution Fresh, Inspired by Dannon "will have the positioning to bring something new and to continue renovating the category." The product will be a parfait, which will be a first for the Greek segment, noted Michael Neuwirth, senior director of public relations for Dannon USA.

The "daily-ness" of Starbucks consumption for many of the chain's customers, for one thing, will bring new opportunities for forming similar habits for yogurt consumption to buyers of Evolution Fresh, Inspired by Dannon, Valle said. Neuwirth added that the product sold by Starbucks also "will be largely consumed and bought out of home, which is a different brand experience."

Valle said he's not concerned about eclipsing the Dannon marque in favor of the arrangement with Starbucks. "General Mills has many different yogurts behind Yoplait, and potentially Chobani could do the same thing if they expand beyond Greek yogurt," he explained.

"We have Activia, which is a brand that represents digestive benefits. We have Light 'n Fit, which represents weight management. Oikos is tasty nutrition. Danimals is for kids. So we have a strategy and a good story to tell behind each of these brands."

Valle said that Danone is "a company that uses our brands to explain the stories behind our products." And Evolution Fresh, Inspired by Dannon, will represent a whole new chapter.


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