greek yogurts

Is Greek Yogurt Really Better?

April 12, 2015
Yogurt

Why Greek is synonymous with a Healthy Diet

  • Greek yogurt has done a good job of marketing itself as a “super food.”
  • It also fits in nicely with the US populations’ affinity for protein and Paleo diets due to its high protein, low sugar perception.

 

Greek’s Commercial Success is Insane

Greek yogurt’s success is most evident in the 2500% growth figures of the category from 2006-2011.  So it shouldn’t surprise, today, a third of yogurt sold in the US is Greek style. (Source: NPD Group)

Is Greek worthy of the hype?

Curious to investigate whether reality matched the hype, I pulled some data from brands with Greek yogurts in US grocery stores.

A couple of things to note:

  • I kept the comparison to plain versions.
  • I only pulled yogurts including Greek in their brand or sub brand name and did not include other geographies with similar strained yogurt traditions.
  • The brands I looked at:
Alpina Olympus
Athenos Open Nature
Brown Cow Powerful Yogurt
Cabot Vermot Straus Yogurt
Cascade Fresh Stonyfield
Chobani Tillamook
Dannon Yoplait
Fage Wallaby
Greek Gods Zoi
Oikos
  • I also examined private label brands of Greek yogurt from Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Krogers, Walmart and Safeway.

 

Top 5 Insights from Greek vs. Traditional Plain yogurt Comparison

  1. Greek yogurts ingredient list are shorter:  Greek yogurt’s ingredient list lengths ranged from 2-11 with the average length being 5.7 while traditional plain yogurt’s lengths ranged from 2-22 with the average of 7.
  2. Greek yogurts list cultures in the ingredient lists almost 100% of the time: Only one Greek yogurt did not list cultures as an ingredient.  Compared with traditional yogurts, missing cultures 30% of the time.
  3. Greek yogurts listed no emulsifiersWhile 25% of traditional plain yogurts included food additives for emulsification, not a single Greek yogurt I analyzed included these food additives.
  4. Greek yogurts contain less than 1tsp less sugar on average: While traditional yogurts averaged 12.3 g of sugar or over 4tsps, Greek yogurts averaged 7.2g.  A difference of 5.2 g or 1.3 tbsps.
  5. Private Label only cares about Greek: Most of the private label brands are making only plain Greek yogurt; they’re not even bothering with the traditional plain yogurts. And, if they are making traditional plain yogurts, they are certainly are not making the full fat versions.

Across fat levels, Greek yogurts exhibit interesting differences

# of Ingredients

Sugar (g) Calories
Fullfat

5.1

7.3

111.3

Lowfat

6.1

7.1

151.1

Nonfat

6.4

7.2

176.7

All

5.7

7.2

135.2

 

  • FulfatGreek yogurts have 40-60 less calories than low fat and nonfat versions
  • Unlike traditional yogurts (see analysis here), the sugar difference across fat types for Greek yogurt is minimal

 

It’s Greek for my family and me

While Greek may have gained a following because of its high protein punch, plain Greek yogurt’s short ingredient list and low sugar win with my family and me.

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