The phenomenal growth in yogurt sales has slowed a bit from its double-digit pace of a year ago, but sales were still up by 8% in the first three quarters of 2003. Meanwhile, ice cream sales have dropped into the negative territory during the same period. These figures, from Information Resources Inc., reflect supermarket, drug store and mass merchandiser sales, but do not include Wal-mart.

Quarterly yogurt sales peaked at $726 million in the 13 weeks ended March 30, 2003. That was an 11.2% increase over dollar sales in the same period in 2002. That pace slowed to 8.3% in the second quarter of last year and 7.5% in the third.

Still, yogurt sales have grown by more than 5% in each of the last eight quarters, when measured by dollar sales.

Things are a bit different in the ice cream aisle.

A couple of years ago, ice cream was growing as quickly as yogurt. It returned to its usual slow-but-steady pace of 2-3% growth in the middle of 2002, but 2003 brought declines in each of the first three quarters. Unit sales were even down a bit for the period.

Meanwhile, a look at the top 10 brands of shredded cheese shows some losers and some winners, while the overall category continues to post respectable sales growth numbers. On the strength of some new product introductions, Borden has become the No. 5 brand and posted some impressive figures for the 52-week period ended Nov. 30. Private label continued to grow faster than most of the top brands.

Finally, sour cream sales were down just slightly across the board in the same period, and private label sour cream lost considerable ground. Meanwhile brands like Daisy and Tillamook appear to be stealing market share from private label and other brands.