Astro puts probiotics front-and-centre

The Parmalat brand promotes ingredients that aid digestion.


Parmalat’s Astro believes more is better when it comes to digestive health.

To support the launch of its Astro Kefir Probiotic Yogourt, the brand is emphasizing the product’s ingredients, which contain twice as many probiotics as its other yogurts, in a new marketing campaign.

For the most part, kefir is sold as a drinkable beverage that many add to smoothies or pour over cereal. But Astro (best known for its Balkan-style yogurt) is putting a new spin on the cultured milk product with the Kefir Probiotic Yogourt.

Probiotics — live microorganisms that aid digestive health  have been highlighted as a key ingredient in yogurt by several others in the category. Danone recently reaffirmed its own functional benefits through the Activia Challenge in 2018, reminding consumers of the the brand’s “heritage in probiotic, science and knowledge of digestive health.”

Not all yogurts are created equal, some, like Astro, are natural and contain probiotics, while others do not. Health Canada has specific criteria, where yogurt must contain at least one billion live colony-forming units to meet the definition, and certain brands don’t make the cut.

“There’s a vague idea in the general public that every yogurt contains probiotics,” says Manav Dutt, senior brand manager at parent company Parmalat Canada, adding that the brand is looking to put more focus on Astro’s strong bacterial count, especially at a time when health and wellness is becoming more of a priority for consumers.

Astro RBC Plaza_SMR

astro-side-yogurtDutt tells strategy that marketing inside grocery stores includes shelf blades, as well as $1 coupons in the yogurt aisle.”The idea is to have it live for four weeks, enough time for people to notice it on the shelf,” he says, adding that the brand worked with News Marketing Canada and Metrospot on the placement of the signage.

Astro is also in the midst of an aggressive sampling activation in high-traffic areas, like the RBC plaza in Toronto, as well as locations in Vancouver and Montreal from now until mid-October. Dutt says ambassadors will distribute single-serve samples, as well as coupons, from branded stations and talk about about the product’s natural ingredients and probiotics with consumers.

The new Astro Kefir Probiotic Yogourt – which, according to Dutt, helps the brand continue to build on its probiotics portfolio – includes a 500g tub, as well as multi-pack format containing eight 100g units. The permanent SKU is available at 1,750 stores nationally, including banners like Loblaw, Metro and Sobeys, in plain and vanilla flavours, as well as strawberry or blueberry pomegranate.

There is also a supporting mass campaign that includes two TV spots (six- and 15-seconds), which emphasize the double probiotic ingredients and includes the tagline “Let twice the natural out.” The brand is also promoting the new line with digital pre-roll and an influencer and PR program, a branded content partnership and online coupons posted to the brand’s website.