Derek Neeley

Derek Neeley, vice president of marketing for Family and Wellness Yogurt brands, Danone North America, White Plains, N.Y., and Broomfield, Colo., joins us for Episode 17 of the “Let’s Talk Dairy” podcast to discuss trends in gut health immunity and the company’s new ready-to-drink (RTD) yogurt, Activia+ multi-benefit probiotic yogurt drinks.

Based in Broomfield, Colo., Neeley has been with Danone since February 2019 starting out as a leader in the company’s Plant-Based Beverage business before joining the yogurt product line (Dannon, Activia and Danimals) in March 2022.

Neeley explains that creating functional, healthy products that are good for consumers of all ages plays a pivotal role in the company’s 100-year mission and newest campaign to get “A+ Feels.”

Probiotics and gut health is an increasingly important and relevant topic with consumers. In fact, when looking at Google searches, “gut health” rose more than 400% between 2015 and 2020. He explains that probiotics as a product segment is a $3 billion industry, growing at 7%. A leader in the space, Activia is growing more than 13% thus far in 2022 and is the No. 1 doctor-recommended probiotic and the No. 1 choice gut health brand recognized by registered dieticians. For more than 20 years, Activia has been part of the journey and the brand is constantly looking for ways to take wellness to the next level. Drinkable yogurts are on fire, up more than 30% as health-conscious Americans crave convenience and more flavored yogurt options, according to Research and Markets.

Activia+ is available in Strawberry, Peach, and Raspberry flavors. The multi-benefit probiotic drink contains billions of probiotics that support gut health and contains key vitamins and minerals linked to supporting the immune system, such as vitamins C, D, and zinc. With 9 grams of sugar and 70 calories, the 3.1-ounce RTD  yogurt is intended to check all the boxes in terms of health, taste, and portability.

In this episode, Neeley also discusses:

  • The importance of health and immune system benefits to the Hispanic community, the African-American community, and serving all communities young and old with holistic gut health products. 
  • The A+ campaign which brings a modern voice to younger consumers crushing it at their daily activities, hitting the gym, and living their best life. 
  • Danone North America’s Certified B. Corp. focus on bringing health through food to as many people as possible through purpose-driven, market-winning growth.
  • Equipping women with information and tools so they can advance their health and thrive and how Activia+ is leading the charge to deliver on the trifecta of great taste, fantastic health, and convenience for consumers of all ages.

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