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Pepsi yogurt? Pepsi enters the American dairy market

PepsiCo is teaming up with German dairy company Theo Mueller Group to make premium European yogurt. (Reuters)PepsiCo Inc is counting on yogurt becoming the next big thing in the snack world.

PepsiCo is teaming up with German dairy company Theo Mueller Group to introduce premium European yogurt to the U.S. dairy market this month.

"The venture, Muller Quaker Dairy, will start selling three different types of yogurt in the U.S. starting in mid-July under the names Muller Corner, Muller Greek Corner and Muller FrutUp," Reuters reports.

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New yogurt flavours like Choco Balls, Chocolate Flakes, Honeyed Apricot and Caramelized Almonds will be sold alongside traditional flavours and Greek varieties in the dairy aisle.

The New York Times describes the three types of yogurt:

"Two varieties of the Muller by Quaker yogurts, one conventional and one Greek, come in square rather than traditional round packages with one corner filled with an ingredient that the consumer can add to the yogurt by folding the corner or using a spoon. Besides traditional fruit flavors like strawberry and blueberry, these supplements include caramelized almonds, tiny chocolate-covered crunch balls and granola."

In the FrutUp variety, "the fruit comes in a mousse that sits on top of the yogurt for the consumer to stir in. That allows the consumer to smell the peaches or raspberries as soon as the foil cover is removed," the article continues.

The company hopes to make yogurt a fun snack option rather than just the dutiful, healthful choice.

The U.S. yogurt market is expected to reach $9 billion by 2016, twice that of 2008. The L.A. Times reports that "sales of Greek yogurt have spiked 100% annually" in the last three years.

According to the Canadian Dairy Commission, yogurt consumption in Canada increased 22 per cent between 2005 and 2010.

The new yogurts will be available in the Northeast and MidAtlantic states this month, with expectations for expanded distribution next year. So far, there's no word from PepsiCo Canada on a proposed expansion of the spoonable snacks into Canada — although if the yogurt is successful south of the border, it will likely end up in Canadian grocery stores soon.

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"As we've seen through the success of our dairy business in other parts of the world, this is a category with strong growth prospects," says Mehmood Khan, PepsiCo's chief scientific officer, global research and development.

"Mueller makes some of Europe's most delicious and unique dairy products, and there is no better partner PepsiCo could have in order to meet historic US consumer demand for premium yogurt."

PepsiCo, most famous for its Pepsi-Cola, also makes Frito-Lay chips, Cheetos, Doritos, Quaker Oats, Gatorade and Tropicana orange juice. In recent years, the company has been moving beyond its "fun-for-you" foods" to court increasingly health-conscious consumers with "good-for-you" foods, the Associated Press reports.

Each yogurt will have between 130 and 220 calories per serving.

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