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Glass jars enable yogurt’s thick, creamy texture

General Mills brings its French-style yogurt to the U.S., employing a ‘pot-set’ process that relies on glass packaging to deliver a fresh taste and thick, creamy texture without artificial ingredients.

Oui by Yoplait Black Cherry
Oui by Yoplait Black Cherry

Described as a “thick and creamy, subtly sweet, fresh-tasting yogurt made with non-GMO ingredients,” new Oui by Yoplait uses a recipe and package that are inextricably linked. The French-style yogurt, which brand owner General Mills hopes will be strongly embraced by U.S. consumers, was inspired by the company’s Yoplait Saveur d’Autrefois yogurt (translated “taste of yesteryear”) sold exclusively in France for the last 20 years.

Key to the product’s unique, creamy texture—which Senior Associate Marketing Manager for the brand Amanda Vaal says “can be cut with a spoon”—is the process employed to produce it. Unlike the standard U.S. method of making yogurt, where the ingredients are cultured in large batches and then filled into individual cups fully prepared, French-style Oui by Yoplait is made by pouring the ingredients into pots, or glass jars, supplied by O-I, and allowing the contents of each pot to set and culture for eight hours.

Explains Vaal, “The rigidity of the glass helps maintain the yogurt’s integrity and enables the yogurt to stabilize without the use of added cornstarch or gelatin.” Oui by Yoplait is made with simple ingredients, such as whole milk, pure cane sugar, real fruit, and yogurt cultures and contains no artificial preservatives or flavors, and uses no colors from artificial sources.

Scaling up the pot-set process at one of its Reed City, MI, yogurt plants required General Mills to purchase new equipment as well as leverage new capabilities, although it declined to share details. Says Doug Martin, Director of Yoplait for General Mills, “It’s the simplest way to make yogurt, but it’s also the hardest to do at scale. We’re really going back and embracing the way yogurt was made in the past.”

Oui by Yoplait began rolling out to the U.S. market in June 2017 in eight flavors. The yogurt is packaged in a clear, 5-oz glass jar with a custom shape developed for Yoplait Saveur d’Autrefois. The jar is covered with a foil laminate lidding material and features a front label with scalloped edges that suggests a homemade feel.

For label and lid packaging graphics, General Mills worked with creative design and branding agency Pearlfisher. “Our goal from the beginning was to get noticed on shelf,” says Vaal. “Each element of the design was carefully considered to ensure it evoked the right emotion and information about the product for our consumers. It was important to us that consumers saw this as a high-quality, affordable product that they can eat every day. We also want them to light up with joy and excitement when they see the product for the first time.”

The label features a light blue background, with several touches of color corresponding to the product variety. Graphics include the Oui logo, featured prominently in a handwritten-style font in lowercase followed by the Yoplait logo below. A single illustration adorns the label: a sketch of the fruit used within the yogurt, for example, a strawberry, a lemon, or a peach. At the bottom is the variety name, in a font that appears hand-printed. The foil lid is white and is decorated with a pattern of the fruit image shown on the front of the label.

Oui by Yoplait is available nationwide. The suggested retail price for the product is $1.49/jar. Strawberry and Vanilla flavors are also available in a four-count package for $4.78.

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