There is no doubt Greek yogurt is the next big thing for the yogurt category in Malaysia. The minor skirmish in what is known as the yogurt battle between Nestle and Sunglo has grown into a full scale war with the entry of foreign competitors such as Emmi, Chobani, Fage, Tamar Valley and Farmers Union.
The front line can be quiet in some areas. At the Tesco Taman Midah store, only Sunglo has a significant presence. There was no Nestle Greek yogurt when the store check was conducted on 4 May 2014. The Taman Midah store is located in Cheras, a suburb of Kuala Lumpur (KL). In other suburban hypermarkets, the usual Greek yogurt brands are Nestle and Sunglo with Emmi being the new kid in town.
At Cold Storage, Mid Valley, KL, this is an area where most of the major players are competing fiercely. Cold Store is more upmarket and usually sells imported goods, making it the place for shoppers to stock up on imported yogurt. Emmi and Chobani are located on the top right, while Nestle Greek yogurt is located below Emmi and Chobani. In the middle is Farmers Union and on the top left is Tamar Valley. Below Tamar Valley are all Farmers Union Greek yogurts.
Aeon Big is a hypermarket chain similar to Tesco. The four Greek yogurt brands at the Mid Valley store are Nestle, Sunglo, Emmi and Farmers Union. Nestle Greek yogurt occupies the top right and bottom right, while Sunglo occupies the bottom left shelf space and on the middle shelf. The top part is taken by Emmi, while Farmers Union is second on the left. Unfortunately, none of the Greek yogurt takes up the prime eye-level shelf space.
Greek yogurt at the Aeon Supermarket in Mid Valley is scattered strategically, making them easily spotted on the rack. Nestle Greek yogurt is located on the left, while on the far right and on the bottom is Sunglo. Sunglo, a local brand, does not usually receive the prime spot. Fage is second on the top right and next to Fage on the left is Farmers Union. Below Sunglo on the far right on the second rack is Chobani in the 140g pouch format. Above Sunglo on the second rack from the bottom are Chobani and Emmi in cup.
Yes, the 140g pouch Chobani has arrived in Malaysia. The product is made in Australia and sells for RM7.50 at Aeon Supermarket, Mid Valley. The normal Chobani in cup is retailed in the same store for RM8.70.
At the moment, the front line of the Greek yogurt war is in high-end supermarkets and in supermarkets and hypermarkets in neighborhoods with affluent consumers, foreign tourists and expats. For ordinary shoppers buying grocery in their suburban hypermarkets, only Nestle and Sunglo are at the front line laying the groundwork to build further acceptance of Greek yogurt. The burden now rests on Nestle and Sunglo. Some of the brands will start thinking about expanding to suburban stores, thanks to rising awareness about Greek yogurt. Switzerland’s Emmi is the latest foreign brand to make available its Greek yogurt in suburban hypermarkets.