Stonyfield goes continental

TEXT OF STORY

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Today America's largest organic yogurt maker, Stonyfield Farms, is unveiling plans to expand into Europe. But will the US organic craze have the same success across the Atlantic? From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, here's Sam Eaton.

SAM EATON: Many Europeans have rejected US food products, calling them Frankenfood in reference to American agriculture's embrace of genetically-modified crops.

That begs the question of whether an American brand can ride the organic wave all the way across the Atlantic. Organic dairy products have been a success story here in the US, but only account for a fraction of the market in Western Europe.

Stonyfield Farms hopes to change that. And New York marketing consultant Simon Sinek says they might just pull it off. Stonyfield's partnership with an Irish organic dairy and its majority ownership by French yogurt company Dannon gets its foot in the door.

SIMON SINEK: And what Stonyfield brings is the marketing know how. They've done it. They've done it where the Europeans have not. They know how to build that brand and they know how to communicate their mission.

Sinek says the real question is whether Europeans are ready to pay a premium for organic yogurt.

I'm Sam Eaton for Marketplace.

About the author

Sam Eaton is an independent radio and television journalist. His reporting on complex environmental issues from climate change to population growth has taken him all over the United States and the world.

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