Ultima Foods CEO Gerry Doutre shares success story of iögo: Ultima Foods' new Canadian yogurt brand, at Toronto Board of Trade

Invests over $70 million to build new Canadian brand

TORONTO, Jan. 17, 2013 /CNW/ - Mr. Gerry Doutre, President and CEO of Ultima Foods, took advantage of his visit to the Toronto Board of Trade today to share the colossal challenges the company faced in launching iögo - the company's completely new, 100 per cent Canadian yogurt brand. In fact, iögo is the only major brand distributed across Canada that is owned by Canadian interests through the two largest dairy cooperatives in Canada, Agropur and Agrifoods, which represent over 5,000 dairy farmers. For Ultima Foods, which has been a leader in the manufacturing and marketing of yogurt in Canada for 40 years, the success of this project has exceeded all expectations.

"With over 40 years of professional experience in the food industry, my career has been filled with challenges," said Mr. Doutre. "However, nothing equals what Ultima Foods faced as a company just two years ago. We only had 20 months to create, develop and market a full line of yogurt with 65 different products for both grocery and foodservice. Typically, the research, creation, development and marketing of a single yogurt with a few flavours takes about 24 months of work. We did not have that luxury. We therefore had to revamp our practices from A to Z and create multidisciplinary teams that worked at the same time and in synergy."

During his talk, Mr. Doutre revealed the different strategies that the company adopted to ensure success, including the initiation of seven multi-disciplinary teams working on parallel timelines to tackle everything from operations, product development, sales, marketing, human resources and information technology. In an industry that is highly competitive and where market share is fiercely contested by foreign multinationals, Ultima Foods had to create a brand that was different, innovative and unique. The company therefore made a financial commitment of over $70 million to achieve this goal.

Although Ultima Foods had to start from square one to build its new brand, it nevertheless had employees with vast experience and solid expertise in the industry. After conducting research among 4,000 Canadian consumers over three months, the company capitalized on its creativity and capacity for innovation to develop unique recipes for over 40 flavours that are gelatine-free and that have no artificial flavours or colours. Ultima Foods also wanted a brand with an original personality that redefined the yogurt sector across the country. It therefore chose a name that was short and meaningful. With a spelling that is distinctive and easily recognizable, iögo has quickly become the new way to say yogurt.

Results that speak volumes
A true iögo wave has unfurled across Canada. At the end of October, after only two months of market release, iögo had achieved an awareness rate of 68 per cent among yogurt consumers; barely one week later, on November 5th that increased to 74 per cent. It should be noted that in general, the awareness rate for a new product after three months is around 32 per cent. What's more, after just 10 weeks, iögo's market share was already over 12 per cent.

Because of the great success enjoyed by iögo since the brand launch, Ultima Foods announced on October 3, 2012 that it had decided to invest an additional $22 million in its Granby plant.

"Our current task is to manage our success wisely and with a vision. More than ever, we have the obligation to surpass and renew ourselves so that we can keep offering products that meet consumers' needs. With the launch of iögo, we have demonstrated an extraordinary capacity to do extraordinary things. We must continue on this path," concluded Mr. Doutre.

Beyond consumer acclaim, Ultima Foods was recognized with the Élixir Project of the Year Award 2012 by the Montreal Chapter of the Project Management Institute in recognition of their application of best practices in project management. It was also honoured with three prizes at the 2012 Gaïa Awards for packaging and is listed among the top 10 marketers of the year by Marketing magazine. Most recently, Ultima Foods was also awarded the 2012 Dairy and Grand Prize for Innovation within the Quebec food industry.

About Ultima Foods
For more than 40 years, Ultima Foods has been a Canadian leader in the manufacturing and marketing of yogurt and fresh dairy products. The company is headquartered in Longueuil (Québec) and has 750 employees across the country. It has world-class facilities and every year at its Granby plant produces more than 100 million kilos of fresh dairy products that are distributed across Canada. Having developed a veritable yogurt culture in the country, Ultima Foods makes products that are adapted to the tastes and expectations of Canadian consumers by investing in high standards of quality and innovation. It develops, manufactures and markets the iögo brand (www.iogo.ca). Aside from its brand, the company owns and operates Olympic brand dairy products (www.olympicdairy.com). With the combined manufacturing of all those products, Ultima Foods, which is owned by the Agropur and Agrifoods dairy cooperatives, is a major player in the Canadian food industry. For more information about Ultima Foods, visit www.ultimayog.ca  or follow us on Facebook.

Image with caption: "Gerry Doutre, President and CEO of Ultima Foods, shares the business challenges and the success story of iögo, the company's new Canadian yogurt brand, at the Toronto Board of Trade. Ultima Foods invested over $70 million to develop and launch the iögo brand across Canada in August 2012. (CNW Group/Ultima Foods)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130117_C6682_PHOTO_EN_22671.jpg

SOURCE: Ultima Foods

For further information:

or to coordinate an interview with Mr. Gerry Doutre, please contact: 

Carolyn Ray, CASACOM, Tel: 416-944-2145 or 647-213-3450, cray@casacom.ca or
Jason Chennette, CASACOM Tel: 416-944-2145 or 416-894-0190, jchennette@casacom.ca

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