Food Vision USA 2017

Chobani president says snacking is ‘bigger than anything else’ in the food industry

By Douglas Yu contact

- Last updated on GMT

BakeryandSnacks caught up with the president and COO of Chobani, Tim Brown, during Food Vision USA in Chicago recently, and learned that the yogurt company is updating its packaging to look more like a snack brand in the future.

“We’re getting there in a big way with our Flip products. We want to be part of snacking – it is the most exciting trend in food [market],”​ Brown said. “We want to learn from all the great players that come before us that are making people happy in all parts of the day, and figure out a way we can adapt to be part of it.”

Flip, a snack mix-in product platform, has been growing over 20% in terms of dollar sales year-over-year since it was launched four years ago. The brand’s strong performance​ (70% growth in 2016) also contributed to Chobani US operation’s double-digit sales and volume growth last year, according to this site’s sister publication, FoodNavigator-USA.

“Flip is doing great for one important reason: it is fun,”​ Brown said. “Some people think of yogurt as much of a medicine as food, but Flip is not so serious. The flavor combinations are exciting, and some have great food memories such as s’mores, peanut butter and jelly… Some of our products are really targeted to the morning occasion, but others are when you think about deconstructed candy bars or the desserts that you had growing up.”

He noted the Flip almond cocoa loco flavor is currently the number one SKU in the entire US yogurt category.

“We believe, ultimately, the Flip format will be bigger than the cup format because snacking is bigger than anything else,”​ Brown added. “We think of our drinks as snacking because they are full of protein (15g of protein per bottle), so they are pretty filling.”

Chobani’s near-term initiative is to increase US footprint with new distribution channels, such as convenience stores and food service, said Brown. 

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