|Industry Processed Dairy Goods||Products Dairy Products|
|Type Private / joint venture|
Founded 1965; 52 years ago (1965)
Headquarters Boulogne-Billancourt, France
Owner General Mills (51%) Sodiaal (49%) (Most individual country franchises independently owned)
Yoplait /joʊ.pleɪ/ is the largest franchise brand of yogurt, jointly owned by United States–based food conglomerate General Mills and French dairy cooperative Sodiaal.
In 1964, 100,000 French farmers merged their regional dairy cooperatives to sell nationally. In 1965, two co-operatives, "Yola" and "Coplait", merged, becoming "Yoplait". The company's logo is a six-petaled flower designed by Philippe Morlighem, each petal representing one of the six main cooperatives' founders. A redesigned logo, which has been slowly rolled out since the late 2000s, uses a flower with only five petals.
On May 18, 2011, General Mills announced it had agreed to purchase a controlling 51% interest in the brand's main operating company Yoplait SAS, and a 50% interest in a related company owning the brand's intellectual property, with Sodiaal retaining the remainder. The announcement of the completion of the acquisition was made on 1 July 2011.
In Australia, Yoplait is locally manufactured by LD&D Foods Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Lion. It uses the slogan "Yoplait; French for Yoghurt".
In Canada, General Mills markets pre-stirred Yoplait yogurt, Minigo, Tubes, Source, Creamy, Delicieux, Yop, Yoplait Basket, Yoptimal, and Asana. In 1971, the Coopérative agricole de Granby, which went on to become the largest dairy cooperative in the country—Agropur—launched the Yoplait brand in Canada. In 1993, Agropur and Agrifoods (the two largest dairy cooperatives in Canada) combined their yogurt and fresh cheese marketing and manufacturing activities to form Ultima Foods. Ultima oversaw Yoplait brand products throughout Canada until 2012, when General Mills took over the licence (Ultima continues to manufacture Yoplait products in Canada as a subcontractor, but has also launched a wholly owned rival product line, iögo).
In Chile the Yoplait brand is managed by Quillayes.
In Ireland, Glanbia controlled the Yoplait brand from 1973 until May 2012, when the control was let go to Yoplait.
Yoplait in Israel is managed by Tnuva, Israel's largest dairy, and products are kosher. The company's drinkable yogurt comes in a 100-gram shot-style bottle with a center opening for easy gripping. Yoplait-brand flavored yogurts account for 42–52% of the Israeli market. Tnuva and Yoplait entered into a partnership to set up production facilities in Romania in 2007. In 2009, Tnuva introduced a 500-gram family-size yogurt called Yoplait YYY that comes in resealable containers.
In Mexico, the Yoplait brand is managed by Sigma Alimentos.
The franchise in Norway is held by Fjordland.
In Portugal, Yoplait is run under Gelgurte.
In South Korea, the Yoplait brand is managed and manufactured by Binggrae.
In the United Kingdom, Yoplait UK Ltd is now 100% owned by Yoplait France. In April 2009 the joint venture between Yoplait and Dairy Crest ended. Yoplait UK Ltd is based in General Mills' European head office; Harman House in Uxbridge, London, United Kingdom. Tubed yogurts are called Frubes (portmanteau of fruit and tube) in the UK.
In the United States, General Mills is the sole franchisee of Yoplait pre-stirred yogurt. Products are available in a variety of fruit-based flavors that come in a truncated-conical container sealed with an aluminum foil top. Under the Yoplait label, General Mills also markets Trix Yogurt, based on the flavors of their breakfast cereal of the same name, and Go-Gurt, where various flavors are packaged in plastic tubes for spoonless eating; these brands are targeted to children. A probiotic line of yogurt is marketed under the brand name Yo-Plus.
In the U.S., Yoplait participates in an annual program called "Save Lids to Save Lives" to raise money for breast cancer research. Yoplait donates ten cents per pink foil lid that is mailed to the company, but they state in fine print on all promotional materials that their donations will be capped at $2,000,000 per year. This money is donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Yoplait has been the primary sponsor of Race for the Cure, a marathon held to raise additional research money, since 2001.
The American franchise of Yoplait added a rim on the bottom of the yogurt containers to keep animals such as skunks from accidentally getting their heads caught. A label was added to the container stating: "Protect Wildlife: Crush Cup Before Disposal."
The 2011 documentary Pink Ribbons, Inc. reported that some products sold under the "Save Lids to Save Lives" campaign had previously contained milk from cows treated with bovine somatotropin, a growth hormone banned in many nations for its possible link to diseases in humans, until the company agreed to remove it.
A 2012 television advertisement for Yoplait prompted criticism from the National Eating Disorders Association due to its portrayal of a woman making difficult food choices. The company announced within a few days of the complaint that they would pull the ad, saying, "We aren't sure that everyone saw the ad that way, but if anyone did, that was not our intent and is cause for concern."