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Dannon Secretly Reduces Sugar in its Kid-Friendly Yogurt. Does It Matter?

If you or your kids are regular consumers of Dannon’s Danimals Smoothies, you’ve been taking in about 25 percent less sugar with each serving. Since February they’ve cut back the sugar in their kid-focused yogurt. They purposefully didn’t make a big deal about it as to avoid scaring off consumers.

danimals less sugar

It’s not the first time a brand has made a change to its formula only to reap the repercussions of consumers who prefer the status quo. McDonald’s faced backlash when switching from an animal fat frying oil to canola over concerns those world-famous fries would taste different. (Today their website boasts the use of a canola oil blend and that all fried foods on its menu are free of trans fats.)

And of course everyone knows the tale of New Coke, when the soft drink company reformulated its soda and became one of the most infamous marketing flops around. So changing something that wasn’t necessarily broken had to be done so in an exacting way by Dannon. It’s no surprise that the brand treaded these sugary waters carefully.

“One thing I have learned is that the main driver of yogurt sales above all is taste,” said Sergio Fuster, senior vice president for marketing at Dannon, to NYTimes.com. “You do not want to send any signal to the consumer that might lead her to believe the taste has changed because she will simply pick up another yogurt — and it may not be ours.”
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Greek Yogurt is No Fad Food, Dominating the U.S. Yogurt Market

Americans have found a new yogurt. According the to the numbers, Greek yogurt sales are dominating the market and look to continue that pattern.

Currently, Greek yogurt accounts for a quarter of the total U.S. yogurt market. The top two national Greek yogurt companies are Chobani and Fage, and each company is currently expanding their plants to meet the demands. Chobani produces an astounding 1.5 million cases of the thick yogurt every week. Consumers are foregoing the thinner, sometimes watery, version of yogurt for the thick creamy blends of Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt unique texture is achieved by straining off the whey, leaving a creamier yogurt with nearly twice the amount of protein of a traditional.

Many foods have been issued fad status and some of the rapid growth of Greek yogurt may be attributed to that. However, there’s a strong industry belief that Greek yogurt is here to stay. Its rapid rise to fame may speak to its predicted longevity.

In 2005, Hamdi Ulukaya bought an old Kraft Foods plant in New York state. He planned to make the type of yogurt that was common to his home country of Turkey. He didn’t feel the current yogurt in stores was being made right so Ulukaya and his company Agro-Farma began producing yogurt for companies like Stonyfield Farms and eventually, his current company, Chobani, was launched in 2007.

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Dannon Activia adds French and Greek Yogurts to Product Line-Up

While yogurt can be a healthy snack or breakfast, not all brands are created equal.  Homemade Greek yogurt is a nutritious option, but today’s supermarket shelves are crowded with various flavors and types of yogurt that are full of sugar and artificial flavoring.

The latest yogurt to hit the grocery store are three new lines from Dannon Activia: Dannon Activia Selects French, in Mango, Pineapple, Blackberry and Cherry; Activia Selects Greek in Vanilla, Strawberry, Blueberry and Pomegranate Berry French and Activia Selects French – Fruit Bites on the Bottom in Strawberry and Mixed Berry.

French yogurt is known for its silky texture, different from Greek yogurt’s creamy consistency and tart flavor.

While Dannon Activia yogurt contains an exclusive probiotic culture Bifidus Regularis, which is said to help regulate your digestive system, the company has been under scrutiny in the past for dropping misleading health claims.


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Dannon Yogurt Drops Misleading Health Claims

Dannon LogoThe yogurt-maker Dannon agreed to drop various health claims made about its products, in addition to paying out $21 million in state and federal settlements. The Federal Trade Commission says that there is not enough scientific proof for Dannon’s claims that Activia yogurt can correct digestive irregularity or that DanActive can boost immunity.

“Consumers want, and are entitled to accurate information when it comes to their health,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said in a statement. “Companies like Dannon shouldn’t exaggerate the strength of scientific support for their products.”


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Your Yogurt Might Not Be as Healthy as You Think

Yogurt can be one of the healthiest food choices you can make in your diet. Packed with high quality protein, tons of calcium and full of  healthy digestive bacterias, a cup of yogurt can be part of a wonderful breakfast or be the perfect grab-and-go snack.

Be aware, though, not all yogurts are created equally, and many yogurts are so bad for you that they should be classified as a junk food. When faced with a sea of choices in the refrigerated aisle, how can you be certain that you are making the best choice?
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