A cottage industry

Michonnette, the Yoplait cow Michonnette, the Yoplait cow, was created by French artist Raymond Savignac in 1965.

Yogurt was wildly popular in the United States by 2010. Not so much in 1977.

That was when General Mills acquired the U.S. licensing rights to Yoplait from Sodima, a dairy cooperative in Paris.

In 1964, French farmers from six regional co-ops were eager to sell their products, including yogurt, nationally.

The farmers from those six co-ops dropped their own brands in 1965 and came up with the name Yoplait.

In 1975, Yoplait caught the eye of Steve Rothschild, a General Mills executive vice president. That was the beginning of the quest for U.S. rights to the brand.

Back in France, Sodima eventually changed its name to Sodiaal, and along the way Sodiaal gained another partner for Yoplait. That was in January 2002, when the co-op sold a 50 percent stake in the company to private equity firm PAI Partners, a division of France-based banking giant BNP Paribas.

And that eventually led to the General Mills acquisition of a majority stake in Yoplait in France during July 2011.

Find out more at yoplait.com.