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Posted on Sep 15, 2011

Visualizing Frozen Yogurt Franchise Popularity in the Media

Frozen Yogurt FranchiseHelpIn this sweltering summer of 2011, with record heat waves slamming large swaths of the country, relief came in tiny, PR-fueled cups. With names like Pinkberry, Red Mango, Yogurtland, and 16 Handles, trendy frozen yogurt franchises -- already constituting one of the hottest categories in franchising -- have been popping up across America's blocks and boulevards with cups of tasty coolness faster than a prospective franchisee can say, "Sign me up!"  And, like any massively popular movement, these rapidly expanding FroYo franchise opportunities have been garnering some truly heated media coverage to accompany -- and help bolster -- their torrid growth.

Representing the "second wave" of frozen yogurt concepts (the first being the group that included category pioneers like TCBY, which sought to approximate an ice cream taste, only in a nonfat form), today's unapologetically yogurt-y tasting brands have used ingenious marketing campaigns, compelling health claims, and (perhaps) a little boost from mankind's messing with mother nature, to spread faster than their predecessors ever did. Despite some doubts that this feverish pace could be maintained, the most popular frozen yogurt chains continue to enjoy backlogs of demand from prospective buyers, proving that America's frozen yogurt trend is nowhere near going cold.

Of course, few things have helped to keep the FroYo frenzy high atop consumer (and investor) minds like the coverage the category has enjoyed from media large and small, who just can't seem to get enough of this story.


To help illustrate this fact, conducted a (wholly unscientific) analysis of which news publications were most intensely covering the frozen yogurt industry. We pored through most of the major news sites, as well as several smaller, niche or local-interest sites to tally a raw count of the number of frozen yogurt articles that each had published in recent months. After adding it all up, we translated our data into chart form, creating an info-graphic visualizing recent online media coverage of frozen yogurt franchises (provided below):

Infographic of Frozen Yogurt Franchises Coverage in Media - Frozen Yogurt Franchises - Franchise Help

As our numbers reveal, stories about this summer's fro-yo craze have been cropping up to various degrees in many of the country's most prominent business publications, in several national (or nationally prominent) mainstream news outlets, as well as in the expected trade journals. However, it's the local media (represented in our analysis by Patch, AOL's network of local online news publications) that seems the most FroYo-obsessed (and by a wide margin). Our final count? 24 frozen yogurt articles for Patch, which was far and away the most prolific of any publication in covering the space. (This actually makes intuitive sense, given that most buyers of frozen yogurt franchise opportunities are, in effect, small business owners serving their local community). [Note: with suggestions from Patch writers themselves, to whom we reached out once the volume of their coverage of the category became clear, we were able to zero in on an accurate count for their network -- a task that would have been quite overwhelming otherwise].

Given the sheer popularity of the category among both potential franchisees and consumers, and the incredible explosion in the variety of frozen yogurt franchises for sale these days, it's no surprise to find that the FroYo story captures such media attention. And the love for covering and/or raving about the topic is hardly restricted to these traditional channels: buzz has been running wild on restaurant review sites, food blogs, and across all forms of social media for years -- so, it could be argued, the big guys are actually late to covering this party. Yet, whether frozen yogurt continues to collect major coverage from major media come fall, or simply continues to win over individual bloggers from smaller towns and cities when the big outlets lose interest, it's apparent that this summer star is more than just a seasonal fad.

Indeed, as WSJ contributor and Red Mango spokesperson of record Monica Feid explains, "Frozen yogurt is a growing segment, and being able to single out real frozen yogurt that is nonfat, low in calories, with all fresh (not frozen) fruit, and rich in probiotics is an incredibly strong foundation for a national brand."

Sounds good enough to run on tomorrow's front page. (For the time being, anyway.)

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