Pepsico has now entered the yogurt wars. Supermarket shelves are already chock-full of plastic cups of yogurt, tubes of “Go-Gurt” and boxes of frozen pops and push-ups. We’ve seen “French” yogurt (Yoplait) and now “Greek” yogurt (Fage, Chobani). Pepsico’s new offering in the US’s $7 billion yogurt market is “German” yogurt, thanks to a joint partnership with Theo Müller, a private German food company. The two companies have invested $206 million in a plant in Batavia, New York, to produce five billion cups of yogurt a year.
The appeal of Pepsico’s new yogurt is to “fill the gap” between mainstream offerings (think Dannon, Colombo) and the “niche” that the Greek yogurts occupy. But, aside from its being sold in square rather than round containers, a New York Times‘ description of the Müller yogurt sounds quite similar to yogurt in my supermarket’s dairy case and also suggests why, these days, yogurt is more and more like pudding.
Here are four reasons that yogurt, which Pepsico is promoting with a “fun for you, better for you, good for you” strategy, seems in danger of becoming something more like white (or pink or blue or orange) “slime.”
Photo by theimpulsivebuy
The new Pepsico-Müller yogurt will contain “supplements” including caramelized almonds and tiny chocolate-covered crunch balls. Other brands contain a veritable Halloween trick-or-treat’s bags worth of brand-name candies.
2. High Fructose Corn Syrup
3. Thickeners, Stabilizers and Preservatives Galore
Potassium sorbate, Red 40, food starch-modified, milk protein concentrate,”natural flavors,” tricalcium phosphate, natural and artificial flavor, potassium sorbate, red #40, blue #1, aspartame, acesulfame k, sucralose.
4. It Comes in a Tube
Imagine your grandmother or your great-grandmother picking up this tube, holding it up to the light, trying to figure out how to administer it to her body — if indeed it is something that goes in your body — and then imagine her reading the ingredients. Yogurt is a very simple food. It’s milk inoculated with a bacterial culture. But [Yoplait's] Go-Gurt has dozens of ingredients.
My grandmothers and great-grandmothers were all born in southern China where dairy products were definitely not part of their diet. I’m sure that, aside from confusion about what in the world yogurt is, they would have found today’s products simply too sweet and more what you ‘d eat for desert.
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