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Dannon dips into yogurt alternative

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On the heels of another Westchester corporation – Pepsico – emerging as a force in Greek yogurt this month, White Plains-based The Dannon Co. is diving into dips with a scoopable version of its Oikos brand of Greek yogurts.

Dannon touts its new line of Greek yogurt-based dips as a healthier alternative to higher-fat dairy dips.

“It links back to our ambition to be all things yogurt to everyone and to provide easy, delicious and nutritious ways for Americans to eat yogurt every day,” said Michael Neuwirth, senior director of public relations for Dannon, a subsidiary of French food multinational Groupe Danone. “So, that means making terrific-tasting, nutritionally sensible products available in yogurt in lots of different ways, and that certainly includes dips.”

Americans, on average, eat a serving of yogurt less than once a week, Neuwirth said. Dannon hopes its dips will boost yogurt consumption as well as shake up what the company calls “the sleepy category of dairy dips,” which it says has suffered as consumers trade up for hummus and guacamole.

“The premium segment of dips is performing very well, while the dairy dips segment is flat or down and ripe for opportunity and innovation,” Neuwirth said.

The yogurt dips are available in four flavors: French onion, which is the highest-selling dairy dip flavor; roasted red pepper, the top hummus flavor; vegetable and herb; and cucumber dill.

“Our first foray is in savory because those are the primary flavor preferences,” Neuwirth said. He said raw vegetables are the first choice for dipping, followed by chips and fruit. “I can’t speculate about future launches, but fruit and sweet are certainly on the radar.”

Dannon claims 43 percent of yogurt sales are now for the Greek variety.

On June 3, Purchase-based PepsiCo Inc. opened a $206 million Muller Quaker Dairy plant in upstate Batavia in a joint venture with Germany’s Theo Muller Co. The 350,000-square-foot Greek yogurt plant in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park is expected to churn out 120,000 cups per hour.

The PepsiCo plant is beside a $20 million yogurt plant that was opened last October by Alpina Foods, based in Bogota, Colombia.

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