Yoplait is suffering through a Greek crisis.
Chobani, which popularized Greek yogurt in America, overtook General Mills’ Yoplait last year to become the country’s biggest yogurt brand. That a 12-year-old upstart could overtake a powerhouse in so short a time illustrates how shifting consumer trends are catching the established food giants flat-footed. They’ve become too complacent about perennial product lines, their critics say, and too plodding to react with innovative, moneymaking products of their own.
“There’s a deer-in-the-headlights phenomenon,” said John Grubb, managing partner at Sterling-Rice Group, a food consulting firm. When big food companies try to match competitors’ fashionable new products, “they suffer from a lack of culinary distinction.”