Kraft discontinues Athenos Greek yogurt

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Kraft Foods Inc. is discontinuing its Athenos line of Greek yogurt after barely two years.

The Northfield, Ill.-based company did not specify why it decided to end the line last month. Athenos Greek yogurt was launched in the fall of 2010, with full national distribution by early last year.

Greek yogurt has surged in popularity in recent years in large part because of its nutritional benefits. Fans also say they like the texture, which is richer than the variety that dominated the U.S. market for so long The thickness is achieved when whey is strained from the yogurt, leaving a creamier yogurt high in protein and low in fat.

A report by Citigroup Global Markets found that Greek yogurt now accounts for a quarter of the $4.1 billion in annual yogurt sales. The nation's No. 1 and No. 2 Greek yogurt brands — Chobani and Fage, respectively — have both been expanding their plants as a result of the growing popularity.

"Although we had a loyal following of Athenos Greek yogurt fans, we have decided to refocus our efforts on innovating new products," Kraft said in a statement. The company declined to say whether sales failed to meet expectations.

Kraft is in the process of preparing to split into two publicly traded companies. One will focus on its international snack brands while the other will concentrate on its North American grocery business.

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