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Loblaw gets its Greek (yogurt) on


Loblaw is changing its yogurt merchandising to focus on styles and benefits. And it is putting a huge sales push on Greek yogurt, a thicker, creamier style of yogurt that has proven a surprising hit with consumers.

Greek-style yogurt has gone from essentially zero market share to 15% of all yogurt sales in the United States. Yet in Canada there are few manufacturers producing it, says Loblaw's vice-president of grocery, Claudio Gemmiti.

By adding it to the PC lineup, Loblaw hopes to give Greek yogurt a national presence and perhaps replicate the sales growth of south of the border.

PC Greek yogurt is sold in 142-gram single-serving containers in strawberry, peach and passion fruit, as well as in 500-gram tubs in a plain flavour. The larger container is in part targeted at consumers who use greek yogurt as a substitute for milk, cream or butter when cooking.

Unlike regular yogurt, the whey is drained away from Greek yogurt during manufacturing. Loblaw says its line is fat-free and contains twice the protein of regular yogurt.

Loblaw is promoting PC Greek Yogurt in the company's Insider's Report and through TV ads featuring the company's now familiar pitchman, Galen Weston Jr. In one ad Weston appears at Toronto's Union Station, lobbing containers of the yogurt to commuters as they pass by.

Meanwhile, Loblaw is remerchandising the yogurt sections of its stores to make them easier to shop.

The sections, from four-feet up to more than 16-feet, depending on the size of the store, will be broken into five areas: kids yogurt; traditional; plain; light and diet; active health (those that contain probiotics, for instance) and organic.

Bright signs (above in photo) denote each section–all under the heading "your yogurt, your style."

Gemmiti said Loblaw officials came up with the merchandising idea after touring grocery stores in France.

The new merchandising system has been installed in only some Loblaw stores so far but will be rolled out to both corporate and franchise stores in coming months.

Gemmiti specualted that a similar signage system could be used in other categories where there are multiple products containing a diverse number of functions and benefits. "It's not something we've done yet, but we're been looking at it."

In addition to Greek yogurt, Loblaw is adding three other PC yogurt products: a Blue Menu yogurt smoothie in strawberry, mixed berry and mango; a PC yogurt drink with Howaru-brand probiotics and Inulin in strawberry and strawberry-banana; and a PC 3% plain yogurt.

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