Monday, August 16, 2010

Rant: Faux FroYo

I think we all want truth in advertising. Plus, when we order a food, we want that food to live up to its name. But many people are being deceived by a specific food item, thinking they are eating something that they are not. I don't think that is right and it needs to be better known. Let me tell you about Faux FroYo!

Yogurt is considered a healthy food and is produced through the bacterial fermentation of milk using active cultures of Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. Regulations of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) mandate that "yogurt" must be made with a certain amount of active cultures.

But what about frozen yogurt, sometimes called FroYo or Frogurt? You would expect that it too has all of the active cultures, and that it is actually a form of yogurt. But in most cases, you would be wrong, and that is why I prefer to call much of it: Faux FroYo.

Frozen yogurt was created in New England in the 1970s by the H.P. Hood company. By the 1980s and into the early 1990s, frozen yogurt had become extremely popular. But with the introduction of new reduced-fat ice creams, the popularity of frozen yogurt started to wane, with the demand dropping in half. Recently though, with the advent of numerous new frozen yogurt stores, like Red Mango and Pink Berry, the popularity has been increasing once again.

Unlike yogurt, frozen yogurt is considered to be a "a non-standardized food" and thus not subject to FDA composition standards. So in short, it does not have to meet the definition of "yogurt." Thus, when you are eating frozen yogurt, it might not actually be yogurt at all, which is really a bit of deception. Some frozen yogurts use heat-treated yogurt, which destroys the active cultures, or though they might add some active cultures, they fail to ferment.

Interestingly enough, most of the frozen yogurt stores have admitted that what they sell is not actually yogurt. But as the term "frozen yogurt" is not regulated, they can legally sell their frozen dessert product under that designation. But many people seem unaware of the reality, that they are not getting actual yogurt. They simply assume that "frozen yogurt" actually is a form of yogurt, though most times it is not.

The National Yogurt Association does issue a seal, Live & Active Cultures, which ensures a product has a significant amount of live and active cultures to be considered yogurt. That is one way to determine whether the frozen yogurt you enjoy actually is yogurt. Though there are few frozen yogurts that are deserving of that seal.

So don't be fooled any longer. Go ahead and enjoy frozen yogurt if you like it, but just remember that you probably are not eating actual yogurt.


Melissa said...

I was looking up info on fro-yo tonight and happen to find your blog post. I just thought you might find this interesting...

Richard Auffrey said...

Thanks veru much Melissa, there is lots of excellent info there.