Giant Tnuva Strikes at Strauss 'Gnomes'

Food-cooperative giant Tnuva has, again, declared war on the Gamadim ("gnomes"), a series of dairy desserts for children made by Strauss. This time Tnuva is taking on the highly popular Gamadim by a double-barreled launch of soft white cheese puddings with fruit, each targeting a different age group.

The product for infants will be marketed under the name Yoplait Shtuzim, aiming for the 1-to-5-year-old set. In a month it will be adding Yoplait Zooz, tube-shaped packages (think, plastic drinks bags) of dairy delights for kids aged 5 to 12. Tnuva will invest about NIS 10 million in the two launches.

To date Strauss has ruled the roost in the kiddie crowd. The market of sweet cheese desserts for children turns over about NIS 125 million a year and Strauss commands a 91% market share with Gamadim and Daniela, a similar product. The main difference between Strauss' Gamadim and Tnuva's new offer is that the latter will be fortified with yogurt containing so-called "bio" bacteria.

Yoplait has achieved a leading status in yogurts for adults, which Tnuva hopes to copy into the world of products for children.

Certainly, it knows what doesn't work, from previous launches for kids that flopped.

In 1995 it launched a rival to Gamadim called Teumim - twins. At its peak Teumim achieved a 14% market share. Today it's sold mainly to the ultra-Orthodox community and averages a market share of 6%. In 1998 Tnuva tried its luck with Yummy, a 3% yogurt for children that disappeared once and for all in 2004. Then came YOP in 2003, a yogurt for kids aged 8 to 12. That one lasted a year before vanishing from store shelves.