The last time I wrote about a launch from Danone North America was back in August 2017, when the company went by the name DanoneWave North America (after acquiring WhiteWave Foods in April 2017), and the brand with the new release was called Dannon. Apparently, when the French multinational Danone first launched in the United States, the company was renamed Dannon because the name was thought to sound more American—but now the company has returned to its roots, and in 2018 it rebranded once again to become Danone North America. (And yes, to add to the confusion, Danone North America still sells a brand of yogurt called Dannon.)
With a new name comes a series of new product launches, among them Good Plants dairy free yogurt made with almond milk. It’s a launch that’s in keeping with one of the year’s top trends, “The Plant Kingdom,” which sees the plant based market continuing to expand as mainstream consumers look for an easy way to add plants to their diets.
The new range, officially called “Good Plants dairy-free Almondmilk Probiotic Yogurt Alternative,” comprises four flavors—Chocolate Coconut; Vanilla; Strawberry; and Lemon Meringue. Each 5.3oz single serve cup provides 100 calories, 4g fat, 4g sugar, and 16g of carbohydrates, which includes 8g of dietary fiber. Good Plants is also lactose free, gluten free, and Non-GMO Project Verified. The range is available now and has an MSRP of $1.89 per cup.
The company is well aware of the popularity of plant-based dairy alternatives, noting in the press release that “as the flexitarian lifestyle continues to evolve and gain popularity, the growth of plant-based alternatives presents an opportunity to further grow Americans’ love of yogurt.” And, as the trend would suggest, Danone is keen to showcase the products’ broad appeal, noting on the website, “whether you’ve fully embraced a dairy-free lifestyle or are just looking to integrate more dairy-free options into your routine, you can feel good about Good Plants in more ways than one!”
Of course, because this new launch is part of the company’s Light & Fit brand—the number one brand in the US light yogurt segment—there’s also an emphasis on cutting calories and sugar. According to the press release (which also reveals another new Danone product, Two Good Greek Lowfat Yogurt), Good Plants yogurt contains 40 percent fewer calories and 70 percent less sugar than most almond milk yogurt alternatives. Prabha Cheemalapati, Danone Vice President of Yogurt Marketing, told VegNews, “We know that many consumers, especially people who are focused on health and wellness, are increasingly looking for plant based, non-dairy options to integrate into their routines. But there aren’t a lot of yogurt alternatives out there offering fewer calories and less sugar.” The packaging also emphasizes both elements of the launch: “dairy free” and “100 calories” are both highlighted, and the Light & Fit logo is also included.
Danone seems to be assuming here that the consumer seeking an easy way to increase their plant intake might also be concerned with counting calories, and it’s possible this assumption is correct. While extremely health-focused shoppers are typically suspicious of added sugar and sweeteners—according to the FAQ, Good Plants has three grams of added sugar and uses a blend of cane sugar and Stevia leaf extract—this year’s “Plant Kingdom” trend focuses more on the mainstream health-conscious consumer, who may indeed be happy to purchase a product that promises to deliver a dose of plant-based goodness and fewer calories. Cheemalapati told Business Times, “About 10 to 15 percent of products still exist 12 months after their initial launch.” It will be interesting to see how the on-trend Good Plants yogurts fare over the next year.