Global yogurt giantDanone, Paris, regards the U.S. yogurt market as underdeveloped with consumption six times lower than in Western Europe. For that reason, officials are expecting big things from The Dannon Company, already a $1 billion business based in White Plains, N.Y.

"For the future, we see double digit growth on a long-term basis," noted Gustavo Valle, Dannon president & CEO. Addressing the Reuters Food and Agriculture Summit earlier this week in Chicago, Valle added, "In four years, we can double the consumption per capita."

Reuterssaid Dannon cut U.S. yogurt prices by 3 percent to 5 percent in the middle of 2009 as part of a wider group move to reflect the fall in milk prices. That helped boost sales by 15 percent in the second half of 2009 compared to flat sales in the first half of 2009.

Valle added that yogurt sales -- including Dannon's best-selling Activia brand -- were continuing to grow around 15 percent in the first two and a half months of this year.

Valle said he expects to keep U.S. yogurt prices flat this year despite the first signs of milk prices starting to rise again.

"We are already seeing milk prices rising, but price rises are not an option," he said.