"Yogurt has this wonderful halo of health, but the ease is what drives the category.
In the mid-'80's, pizza was the food of the day. Today it's yogurt."
Tapping into three major food trends—convenience, portion control and healthful habits— yogurt has emerged as one of America's favorite snack foods.
It's made by adding two types of cultures—lactobacillus bulgaricus and streptococcus thermophilus—to warm milk. The bacteria convert the milk's sugar to lactic acid, which in turn gives yogurt its unique, tangy flavor.
Alive and Kickin'
As a result of the live and active cultures, yogurt is thought to boost the body's immune system and help prevent gastrointestinal infections. The calcium also helps fight osteoporosis and the "friendly" cultures may also prevent certain types of cancers.
Other formulations, some without live bacteria, offer different flavor profiles and consistencies and have broadened the choices for consumers.
[Editor's Note: To help consumers see at a glance which products contain live and active cultures, The National Yogurt Association developed the Live and Active Culture (LAC) seal, a voluntary ID tag for manufacturers of refrigerated and frozen yogurt products that contain a certain level of live and active cultures.]
Since yogurt products come in a wide variety of flavors, forms and textures, here's a rundown of some of the most common descriptors found on refrigerated or frozen yogurt packaging as established by the FDA or by individual manufacturers.
Regular yogurt is made from whole milk and has at least 3.25 percent milk fat.
Lowfat yogurt is made from lowfat milk or part-skim milk and has between 0.5 and 2 percent milk fat.
Nonfat yogurt is made from skim milk and contains less than 0.5 percent milk fat.
Light (lite) yogurt contains onethird less calories or 50% less fat than regular yogurt.
Swiss or custard style (also known as "blended" yogurt) is a fruit and yogurt blend with an added stabilizer, such as gelatin, to enhance firmness.
Heat-treated yogurt has been heated after culturing, killing the bacteria.
Liquid yogurt is a drinkable liquid blend of fruit and yogurt.
Sundae or fruit-on-the-bottom is just what it sounds like—fruit is on the bottom, so that, turned upside down, it looks like a sundae. It can be blended together for a smoother, creamier texture.
Made with active cultures: FDA regulations require that all yogurt be made with active cultures.
Contains active yogurt cultures indicates the yogurt has not been heat-treated after culturing and still contains live and active bacteria.
Yogurt products that do not contain live and active cultures include heattreated yogurt, yogurt-covered pretzels, yogurt-covered candy and some yogurtcontaining spreads and salad dressing.
For more information visit www.aboutyogurt.com
Yogurt's tangy flavor and custard-like consistency have helped elevate it to superfood status.
FACT: In Yugoslavia, yogurt is sold from street stands as ice cream is sold in other countries.
—Harry Balzer, vice president of the NPD Group, to Time Magazine.
With protein, calcium, magnesium, riboflavin, vitamins B-6 and B-12 and more, its no wonder yogurt is emerging as one of America's top snacks. Kid friendly marketing and an explosion of products are turning this ancient food into a shape-shifting phenomenon that includes ever more forms and flavors such as: