An 2004 industry report on the US yogurt market estimated that market value in 2008 would be $5,023 million. Apparently, our country eats a lot of yogurt.
The market is dominated by General Mills and Groupe Danone (Dannon is their US subsidiary), whose yogurts I tend to avoid. The grocery stores I visit have a wide selection, and i've become particular about my choices.
I don't like very sweet yogurt, or yogurt that masquerades as dessert. I don't want to see the words pie or mousse anywhere on the container. It shouldn't have extra digestive aids, vitamin supplements, cooked grains, or anything that needs to be mixed in. Even the president of Fage said mixing ruins the yogurt.
Packaging and branding can be particularly misleading. There are differences between "all-natural" and "organic" yogurts (the latter cannot contain bovine growth hormones). Many premium brands are subsidiaries of larger companies. Rachel's and Horizon Organics are both owned by Dean Foods. Stonyfield Farms and Oikos are both owned by Danone. Chobani is owned by Agro-Farma Inc, who used to manufacture Oikos for Stonyfield.
That said, I choose my yogurt for taste and texture. I tend to stick to low-fat yogurt, as full-fat is a little rich for everyday eating, and non-fat just doesn't taste right. Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order:
I haven't tried making my own yogurt yet, but one of my neighbors recommends Harold Mcgee's recipe. No yogurt maker required- all you need is a heated bowl or thermos.
Anstine, Jeffrey. "Organic and All Natural: Do Consumers Know the Difference?." Journal of Applied Economics & Policy 26, no. 1 (May 2007): 15-28.
"Yogurt in the United States." Yogurt Industry Profile: United States (February 2004): 1.
Berry, Donna. "It's a Jungle Out There." Dairy Foods 110, no. 4 (April 2009): 30-38.