As a marketer, I know how labels and gimmicks are sometimes created to intrigue the consumer enough to buy a product based off of the look, popularity or other appeal. But with all of the hubbub around greek yogurt’s benefits, and the growing competition within the yogurt industry as leaders lessen the calories and increase the benefits, it is time to get to the bottom of this fad.
Since science and technology are constantly improving and reinventing industries, and research studies frequently present findings and conclusions from controlled case studies, there will always be a new “fad” in the food industry. Remember when South Beach diet was the breakthrough solution to all of our health problems? Food manufacturers worked endlessly to remove carbohydrates from their ingredients—even if just enough to slap a “Low Carb” on the front label. Separately, over the past five years we have seen frozen yogurt shops open up on nearly every corner…sometimes as many as three in one downtown area alone! Fads like these make this ever-changing market a challenging place to stay ahead of the curve. Without revolutionizing and reinventing, family favorites like Hostess, who keep their product stagnant based on the legend instead of following the changing needs and wants of their customers end up bankrupt.
Enough about the food fad craze… what is this stuff and how different can yogurts really be?
The difference between greek yogurt and regular or low-fat yogurt is in the process. Greek yogurt is strained multiple times in order to remove the maximum amout of liquid whey, lactose and sugar. Because of this, the consistency is much thicker than the average creamy yogurt. This process of straining the yogurt doubles the protein and cuts the sugar in half helping it skyrocket to the top of the health food and weight loss popularity list. Today, greek yogurt accounts for 33% of all yogurt sales, which is up from just 1% six years ago.
The difference in the nutrition can be identified as follows:
- Protein– 8oz of greek yogurt has about 11g of protein compared to 5g in regular yogurt which will help keep you full longer
- Carbohydrates – Greek yogurt has substantially lower carbohydrates as well as sugar due to the straining process and therefore is also a good choice for those with diabetes
- Sodium – about half that of regular yogurt
- Calcium – because of the multiple straining process, the amount of calcium in greek yogurt is lower than that of regular/non-fat yogurt.
But wait…where’s the fine print?
Of course, like all good things, there are cons to this piece of heaven in a cup. During the production of the yogurt, a toxic byproduct is created called acid whey. There is no place to dump this because it will kill fish and harm waterways and the environment. One out of every four ounces of milk is used to produce the yogurt while the other three turn into the runny liquid, which is as acidic as orange juice. Because of the rapid spike in sales and production, New York state alone created 66 million gallons of acid whey with no idea of how to dispose of it. There are lingering ideas on how to handle the problem, but any Greek yogurt manufacturer that can solve this conundrum would optimize on a breakthrough opportunity for the industry, consumer and environment.
We can only hope that they will come up with a solution as fast as they are increasing their market share.
||Chobani, the top seller of greek yogurt, has made it conveniently easy to substitute everyday products that may be unhealthy, with their yogurt. Due to its unique consistency, it can play the part of mayonnaise, cream cheese or sour cream as a straight conversion.
In addition to substituting ingredients from your family favorite recipes, here are a bunch of interesting recipes you can add to your repertoire containing greek yogurt:
– Garlic cheese knots
– Veggie Dip
Happy converting! Maybe even for a Big Fat Greek Wedding!