How this Icelandic yogurt company dealt with huge demand

Siggi's yogurt products
Photograph by Neilson Barnard — Getty Images

Siggi Hilmarsson founded the Siggi’s yogurt brand more than a decade ago after he tried and failed to find anything in the U.S. resembling the non-fat, slightly sour yogurt known as skyr he ate as a child in his native Iceland.

The former Deloitte consultant started out giving his first batches of yogurt away to friends, but Siggi’s caught the interest of Whole Foods in 2007 and the yogurt soon started selling across the country.

Hilmarsson’s skyr yogurt is now sold in 8,800 stores in the U.S. But Fast Company reports that the expansion of Siggi’s briefly hit a hiccup about seven years ago when rapidly growing demand suddenly outpaced the young company’s production capabilities. In the summer of 2008, Hilmarsson had to stop making and shipping his yogurt for three months in order to raise money to buy the equipment necessary to ramp up production.

According to Fast Company, that hiccup taught the Siggi’s founder a valuable lesson:

Hilmarsson won’t let that kind of setback happen again. Now he plans for the company’s success rather than letting it catch him off guard. In 2013, to make sure Siggi’s could handle growing demand, the company started transitioning to a larger plant. Today Siggi’s has a second manufacturing facility in Wisconsin, a safeguard to make sure there’s always a backup should anything go wrong. As the business expands into more stores and products, that facility is being used more. ‘When your business grows enough, you don’t want to rely on just one plant,’ says Hilmarsson. Now when the demand rolls in, he’s on the ready to meet it.

In the past few years, Siggi’s has expanded its brand to include lines of drinkable yogurt as well as a squeezable yogurt tubes for kids.

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