Greek Yogurt is the New “IT”

By Dawnie April 1, 2011

The yogurt industry has experienced a bit of a Renaissance and there’s one main reason for that: Greek yogurt. According to a report in Business Insider, Greek yogurt sales have shot up 100% every year for the past three and now make up 19% of all yogurt sales. What makes this remarkable is that Greek yogurt is ultimately more expensive than traditional yogurt. So, consumers are willing to shell out the extra money for this product. Why?

For one thing, it has higher protein content than a traditional yogurt. Many people now elect to make Greek yogurt the backbone, if not the entire, meal. The perception is that Greek yogurt is actually more filling than traditional yogurt. Companies began by pushing the yogurt to “rich women looking for low-fat, high protein food.” The strategy seems to have worked. Prices have begun to decrease and more people seem to be embracing the trend.

One particularly interesting part of the research is how few of Greek yogurt consumers seem to like the taste. Most people responded that they eat it primarily because of its health benefits, and are not motivated by its nutritional value.

Greek yogurt is thicker and richer than regular yogurt, and typically contains lower sugar, higher protein and higher amounts of probiotics. Greek yogurt brands include Fage, Chobani and Oikos. Here’s how they stack up to the regular stuff:

-Fage Total 0% (per ounce): 15 calories, 0 grams fat, 1 gram sugar, 2.5 grams protein, 3 percent of daily calcium requirements

-Dannon All Natural Nonfat, plain flavor (per ounce): 13 calories, 0 grams fat, 2 grams sugar, 1.5 grams protein, 5 percent of daily calcium requirements

As far as bacteria are concerned, Greek yogurt can contain up to six strains of probiotics, while regular yogurt usually contains just two. These high levels aid in converting milk lactose into lactic acid, making it easier to digest, especially for those who are lactose intolerant.

If you’re new to the Greek yogurt bandwagon, we say Chobani is the best Greek yogurt: creamy, mild and available in many different flavors (honey is our favorite). If you have a more advanced palette, Fage is slightly tangier and a bit sour (i.e., more authentic). Either way, Greek yogurt reigns supreme over regular yogurt when it comes to taste, nutrition and probiotics.