Saturday, December 8, 2007

The yogurt war is on...

There's an interesting new battle being waged in the world of frozen yogurt. It's been around for a long time - TCBY was always a treat when I was a kid. Now though, frozen yogurt has become high fashion.

Several newcomers to New York City are planning major nationwide roll-outs and garnering PE funding at an alarming rate. And this yogurt has a new twist - no preservatives, additives or excessive sugar. It's a little tart and a little sweet. Most have a groupie group, as well as events and free newsletters they will email to you if you sign up. Here's the skinny on the two front-runners:

Fast Company, my favorite business magazine, recently featured the ladies of Pinkberry. As a business model, I would liken them to the Starbucks of frozen yogurt. They seek to be a third place. Their idea is simple - they want to sell people a $5 dessert that they can eat in a $500 chair. Hollywood types are singing its praises, as is Howard Schultz, the Chairman of Starbucks, who has provided the company with a sizable amount of funding. In New York, there are a five locations. In California, there are over two dozen. In short, I think their experience goal is to be a place to be seen.

Red Mango is also going for the coffee house feel, yet they seem to be a bit more for the everyday guest. They go for chic and modern but also comfy and relaxing. They really bill their experience as an escape from the pressures of life. They aren't into promotion through Hollywood. They also put much more emphasis on the health benefits of yogurt. Their experience goal is to be a place to escape. They have locations in 7 states.

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