BOULDER, COLO. — Frozen Greek yogurt brand Yasso has surpassed $200 million in retail sales and claimed the No. 4 novelty rank, according to data from IRI released last month. The better-for-you treat maker is now the fastest-growing scaled brand across ice cream and novelties.
Founded by childhood friends Drew Harrington and Amanda Klane, Yasso debuted in 2011 as the first-to-market frozen Greek yogurt. The brand’s core bar business now includes 11 varieties, spanning classic dessert flavors like birthday cake and chocolate chip cookie dough to sea salt caramel and fudge brownie. With a “ridiculously creamy” texture and no artificial sweeteners, the low-calorie bars feature the added benefit of live and active cultures.
“We credit our growth and success to an incredible product that’s meeting the shifting consumer demands,” said Craig Shiesley, chief executive officer of Yasso. “It’s a marriage of consumers’ desire for superior taste and nutritious offerings.”
Mr. Shiesley joined Yasso’s board in the summer of 2019. That fall he became CEO of the Boulder-based company. Since then, he has focused on expanding Yasso beyond after dinner dessert occasions and into late-afternoon snacking.
“As snacking continues to become more prevalent across the day, what a consumer considers a snack is also shifting, with items like snackable chocolate and more indulgent caffeinated beverages becoming options to satisfy these midday cravings,” he said. “We believe frozen also has a place in snacking.”
The brand has introduced several snackable platforms over the past two years. In 2020 it launched frozen Greek yogurt sandwiches and expanded its bar offerings with chocolate-dipped varieties. In 2021 it debuted Yasso Poppables, a line of frozen Greek yogurt bites covered in chocolate and sprinkled with quinoa crunch.
This spring it added Yasso Mochi. The bite-size frozen Greek yogurt treats are wrapped in a sweet rice dough and come in strawberry, mango, chocolate and vanilla flavors.
“We know that consumers that currently shop the frozen novelties category that have a high purchase interest in Yasso are also Greek yogurt consumers,” Mr. Shiesley said. “Our use of Greek yogurt enables permissibility outside of just dessert and gives the brand extendibility into different dayparts and the opportunity to capture new households.”
The brand has benefited from several overlapping trends. Shoppers reached for comfort foods that made them feel good during the pandemic while also seeking health-forward and low-calorie options. That demand for permissible indulgence continues to shape snacking behaviors today.
Yasso’s expansion into new formats also coincided with the rise in at-home snacking. Nearly 40% of frozen novelty consumers said they are snacking more often than before the pandemic, with 59% reporting that this is due to being at home more often, according to data from Mintel, a Chicago-based market research firm.
“As the definition of snacking has widened, frozen snacking has entered the consideration set in a big way,” said Pairs Hogan, senior consultant at Mintel. “Due to changes in behaviors formed during COVID-19, and more access to the freezer at home, frozen treats are no longer solely confined to the late evening after dinner occasion.”
On the heels of its latest sales milestone, Yasso is on track to pass $300 million in retail sales in 2023, having experienced 60% growth in the latest IRI period, with its new snackable platforms contributing 9% of that growth.
“Our strategic vision for Yasso is to build the leading better-for-you frozen snack brand,” Mr. Shiesley said. “In 2023, we expect to grow three times faster than the category.”