Monday, July 6, 2009

On Yogurt

Emmi Yogurt

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:

  • Plain Yogurts: Seven Stars Farm low-fat, Fage 2% and 0%, Trader Joe's organic low-fat and low-fat kefir, Whole Foods organic low-fat, Wallaby low-fat, Emmi

  • Flavored Yogurts: Wallaby peach, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, banana-vanilla, Emmi apricot, blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, Trader Joe's green tea, vanana, Chobani vanilla bean, honey

    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.

    Further reading:

    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.

    Unknown said...

    I used to be an Oikos fan until their recipe changed. Now it seems less flavorful and has an increasingly bitter edge.

    I agree that mixing can be a disaster. I prefer pairing (whole Greek) yogurt with fresh fruit (mango!) or vegetables (celery!). Didn't think I liked flavored yogurt until recently, when I had a homemade goat milk yogurt with maple syrup.

    Also, lovin' that bibliography! :D If you're looking for more market info on yogurt GMID is really great for international consumer goods info.

    Christine said...

    I haven't really branched out as far as yogurt is concerned, though I really want to try Greek yogurt. Plain is the only "flavor" I purchase because I haven't found a sweetened variety I actually enjoy, and I can add my own flavorings easily along with turning into yogurt cheese or using it in savory recipes/baked stuff.

    Mos def need to get around to making my own.

    Ace of Clubs said...

    My new favorite food:

    Plain yogurt and frozen mango (usually from Trader Joe, but other froz food depts have them too.) (Saves trying to slice up and peel a fresh mango.) Sprinkled with Grape Nuts. So yummy! I'm really not a health-food-eatin' person. This just happens to be all nutritiony, but I love it because it is YUM.

    Liz said...

    Hi! My name is Liz and I'm the author of "La cuisine, quelle aventure!" a trilingual blog. I love yours, and your recipes. I would like to add it to my blogroll. But first I want to be sure it is oay with you, hope it is! Have a good week-end, Liz.

    Meadowbrook Cabin Primitives said...

    Hello Pittsburgh !..
    I was blog hopping and found your blog.. the Pittsburgh name caught my eye as I am from DuBois.. up the road from your wonderful city.
    Pittsburgh is my second home as my sister lives there.

    On your posts below I saw the cakes, and I am going to make that chocolate expresso cake .. oh, does that look superb !


    tsippor said...

    I am in love with the yo-baby yogurts by Stonyfield. Especially the pear and peach pack. I know there for babies, but the whole milk yogurt is simply delicious and dense.