YoCream, in business for over thirty years and acquired by The Dannon Company, Inc. in 2010, supplies frozen yogurt (as well as other products such as frozen drink mixes and sorbets) to frozen yogurt companies, restaurants, grocery stores, and convenience stores worldwide.
Franchise Chatter asks Tony Tennant, Associate Brand Manager for Yo Cream, about the company’s product line, its YoCream University, and his forecast for the frozen yogurt industry.
Franchise Chatter (FC): Since its inception as International Yogurt Co. in 1976, YoCream has had a long and varied history. When frozen yogurt became a major trend in the early 2000s, why did the company decide not to resurrect its own franchise chain?
Tony Tennant (TT): YoCream decided to exit the franchising business in the 1980s so that we could concentrate our resources (both financial and management attention) on our frozen yogurt mix manufacturing and distribution business, and the support of our customers’ businesses. The skills and talents required to excel in manufacturing and new product development are different from those required in the management of retail food service operations and franchising.
Over the last 10 years, we have seen dramatic growth in our customers’ businesses and the overall market, and our priorities remain the same: undivided focus on our primary mission of innovating, manufacturing, supporting our customers’ needs, and distributing what we believe are the world’s highest quality frozen yogurt mixes.
FC: What sets Yo Cream apart from your competitors?
TT: Several things come to mind:
- There are fewer and fewer manufacturers these days willing to invest the time and capital required to make real cultured frozen yogurt mixes with high levels of live and active cultures. We have maintained our commitment since inception to real culturing and we are proud to display the Live and Active Cultures seal awarded by the National Yogurt Association. Not all of our competitors have made this commitment.
- We are committed to delivering the highest quality frozen yogurt mixes that perform consistently with all the major brands of soft serve equipment. When someone tastes YoCream out of any machine in any shop, we want them to think “Wow!” To achieve this, we are exacting in maintaining the highest standards and usage levels for our raw materials and flavorings to make a premium frozen yogurt.
- We are continuously innovating. We continuously bring to the market new flavors because we listen to the needs of operators. In fact, 7 of our Top 20 flavors did not exist in 2008. We are particularly proud of our newest product category, YoCream Greek Frozen Yogurt, which has reduced sugar (compared to our other non-fats) and high protein levels per ounce, comparable to Greek fresh cup yogurt.
- Based on how we make our products, we are able to serve a broad distribution system that reaches all corners of the U.S. as well as most continents worldwide; this means local inventories for immediate supply to our operators.
- YoCream offers seminars, through its University, to prospective frozen yogurt entrepreneurs.
FC: How does YoCream address the advantages and disadvantages of starting one’s own frozen yogurt company versus purchasing a franchise from an established company? What does it see as the better option, and why?