General Mills, Inc.: Yoplait Custard-Style Yogurt (A)
Company Background• Founded in 1928• General Mill’s original product ; Gold Medal Flour• 5 major operating groups- Consumer Foods, Restaurants, Creative Products, Fashion, Consumer Foods 53% of total sales and operating profits• Product management system• Flat organizational structure• Acquisition-Sodima/ aFrench dairy cooperative
The Yogurt Market• The yogurt market comprised three product segments:Sundae-style (53% of yogurt volume)Swiss-style (37%)Plain (9%)• In 1980 the total U.S. Refrigerated yogurt market was estimated as $425 million in retail sales.• Competitors/ differ in positioning starategies and distribution systems
NPD Process• Idea generations sessions• First screening => Consept Test• Prototypes• Vat/Cup Fermentation• Consumers test prototypes and also R&D team taste the prototypes in review meetings
Conducted Researchs• Yogurt Motivation Study In-depth qualitative research/ 30 focus group/ to identify motivations of yogurt usage• Concept Fulfillment Test To determine which “mix” was the best for Custard- Style Yogurt.• Creative Group Interviews Conducted with yogurt users and nonusers to aid in creative development
Management Decision Problems1) Marketing mix elements a. Positioning b. Packaging type c. Size d. Name2) Market research methods a. Test market simulation; BASES b. Field test i) Full-scale test market ii) mini-market test
Marketing Mix Elementsa. PositioningDessert:• Differentiation• Premium Positioning• The dessert positioning will be more effective and help to increase category usegeSnack:• Yoplait Custard-Style Yogurt will not able to compete with other brands in the market• They cannot capture the major segments because they are health and diet conscious (snacks are perceived as unhealthy and high in calories)• Since the company wants to position the Custard-Style as a premium brand they cannot also position it as a snack because it’s too expensive for snack category food
b. Packaging TypeTraditional cup• Reduce cannibalization effect• It can be produced in 4-oz. sizeVercon cup• High recognition• Possiblity of cannibalization• Cup is not recappable for 4-oz.
c) Size4-oz.• Decrease unit price• Compatible with a dessert positioning• Appropriate for children• Reduce waste• Adequate size for Custard-Style because it is very filling• Require $75.000 in capital investment6-oz.• Compatible with a snack positioning
d) NameYoplait Custard-Style Yogurt• Described the product’s texture• Could increase brand awareness• After a while it is become connected with Yoplait even it is too generic because the company is the first in the market.Name linked with Yoplait( Yoclaire/ Yofleur)• Individual identity• More incremental volumeUnrelated name with tag(Créme de Yogourt/ Yogourt Classique- from the maker of Yoplait)• Negetive effect on brand awareness• Not describes product’s attributes
Market Research MethodsBASES• Low cost ($29.000)• Fast results (12 weeks)• It provides scientific sales volume estimation, therefore, more suitable for test products in new or underdeveloped categories• Dynamic / take into account the timing of proposed marketing expendituresFull-scale test• Budget constraints ($1.700.000)• Long process (approximately one year)• Yoplait’s plants could not yet produce Custard-Style Yogurt so they cannot provide required number of prototypes.• True market conditions- valid&reliable resultsMini-market test• Permit a good measure of cannibalization• True market experience• Less costly than full-scale test market ($200.000)• Limited trade area
RecommendationThe best option between the availablealternatives for marketing mix elements is;dessert positioning, traditional cup, 4-oz.The best option for product name is;“Yoplait Custard-Style Yogurt”The best options are, both BASES and mini-market testThese two market research can be conductedsimultaneously, effectively and efficiently.
Actions• Bruce Becker need to start to conduct BASES and mini- market test for dessert positioning, traditional cup, 4-oz. option.• Before he gets the evidence that indicates progress, he should immediately start the production in Yoplait’s plants to become ready for the market.• General Mill’s need to allocate even more than the estimated $18 million budget for advertising media before and after the launching of Yoplait Custard-Style Yogurt to correct misperceptions about yogurt.• The advertisements have to emphasize it’s benefits to health and it’s low calorie with full taste to capture regular, traditional and new users of yogurt.
• Since, custard is very famous in European countries and used in most of their desserts, it is not hard to persuade consumers because Yoplait offer them a brand new experience and different from all the yogurt brands on the shelf.• The company might consider offering recipes including Yoplait Custard-Style Yogurt to increase the new product usage scale. For instance, they may put different healthy and low calorie recipes for every flavour; “low-fat strawberry cheesecake with Yoplait Custard-Style Yogurt strawberry flavour”.• Since, yogurt is refrigerated and has only a 30-day shelf life; production could not build up inventory. Yoplait USA should coordinate distribution & sales effectively and make the decisions quickly in day-to-day operations to achieve their four 5-year goals; national distribution, $100 million in sales, 20% market share and of course profitability.
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