In May 2017, The Dannon Company announced at the annual summit of the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) the achievement of its commitment to improve the nutrition profile of its products. Over the course of the three-year commitment, the company met, and in some cases, surpassed its goals. The nutrient profile and nutrient density of its products were improved and more than $3 million USD was invested in nutrition research and education. Dannon exceeded the sugar and fat reduction and improved nutrient density goals for its overall portfolio, while meeting the target of reducing total sugar in all children’s products.
Why it matters
The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) works with the private sector to ensure the health of youth in the U.S. by working to solve the childhood obesity crisis. Dannon was the first large food company to commit to PHA. In 2010, PHA was created in conjunction with – but independently from – First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! effort. PHA is a nonpartisan and non-profit organization led by some of the nation’s most respected health and childhood obesity experts. PHA brings together public, private and non-profit leaders to broker meaningful commitments and develop strategies to end childhood obesity. Most importantly, PHA ensures that commitments made are kept by working with unbiased, third parties to monitor and publicly report on the progress its partners are making.
How it works
In 2014, The Dannon Company pledged that by 2016 it would:
- Improve the nutrient density of the Dannon product portfolio by 10% overall by increasing nutrients that are encouraged in the diet, like Vitamin D, and decreasing total sugar and fat;
- Reduce the amount of total sugar in Dannon products to 23 grams or less (per 6 ounce serving, corresponding to 170 grams) in 100% of products for children and 70% of the company’s products overall;
- Reduce the amount of fat in Dannon products, so that 75% of products will be low-fat or fat-free;
- Invest $3 million USD in nutrition education and research focused on healthy eating habits.
Dannon declared it would achieve its goals by introducing new innovations and reformulating existing products, based on actual volumes sold.
A prominent example of reformulation included its most popular kids product, Danimals® Smoothies, which reduced sugar by 25% while maintaining great taste. Experimenting with different yogurt cultures to reduce the acidity of the product reduced the need for sugar to help counterbalance the acidity. Meanwhile, Research & Innovation worked on a new combination of natural flavors, further reducing the need to add sugar. Finally, texture and flavor profiles for each smoothie flavor were refined to ensure that the new reduced sugar smoothies still appealed to children.
A good example of a major new product introduction is Oikos® Triple Zero Greek nonfat yogurt ―- containing zero added sugars, zero artificial sweeteners and zero fat per serving. The product was a success with consumers.
How it creates value
Value was created by further strengthening the nutrient density of the company’s brands within the yogurt category.
For customers (retailers) seeking to offer more nutritious options for shoppers, and moms in particular, Dannon’s new portfolio provided greater choice than ever before. Dannon’s creation of a more nutrient dense offering for children helped Dannon gain market share and, ultimately, segment leadership.