Culture Shock: Junk Food Yogurt

Posted in Dairy Foods

Yogurt is hands down one of the most popular health food items found in grocery stores. Each year, Americans plunk down well over $100 million dollars to spoon up more than 200,000,000 pounds of yogurt! Such staggering popularity triggers fierce competition among yogurt makers.

Normally, we think competition is good. But sadly, some of the major players in the yogurt industry are doing their best to turn this super health food into mere junk food – all in the name of increased sales and shelf space!

Buyer beware! Some manufacturers will do ANYTHING to get your attention…

Case in Point:

Breyers YoCrunch Cookies n’ Cream Yogurt

In our opinion, this manufacturer sank to a new low when they introduced their YoCrunch line of yogurts that include chunks of Oreo® cookies, M&Ms® MINIs ®, Nestle Crunch®, Reese’s Mini Pieces® or Butterfinger ® bars. After a little research, our excited “yum” turned into a distrusting “hmmmm.”

According to the Web site, “YoCrunch now takes the guilt out of a little sweet indulgence. We make it easy to have fun and eat a healthy snack too! Go ahead. Enjoy a smooth and crunchy healthy snack. You deserve it!”

We deserve it… oh, really? We think the world deserves a truly healthy yogurt – one with plenty of great taste and no junk ingredients. But hey, that’s just us.

Decoding the Fine Print

It doesn’t take a PSHFC (Practitioner in the Science of Healthy Food Choices) to figure out right off the bat that any “health food” with Cookies n’ Cream in the name is going to qualify for Healthy Food Imposter status.

Being the good food sleuths that we are, we did our homework anyway. We started out by reading the fine print on the ingredients label. This is where we usually find most of the clues needed to determine if a product is healthy.

Here’s what we found. In addition to the junk found in the Oreos (processed white flour, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial flavors), we also found unnecessary additives and preservatives (modified food starch and potassium sorbate) that are used as fillers in some yogurt products. Fillers mean you’re getting less of the good stuff. So, even without Oreo bits, this variety of yogurt doesn’t make the grade.

Since we like to be thorough and give all products the benefit of the doubt, we proceeded with our customary second step: we reviewed the Nutrition Facts label. Here, we found a substantial boost in calories and fat over other leading brands of yogurt – the brands that use real fruit and only a little added sugar to boost taste.

It’s official: Breyers YoCrunch Cookies n’ Cream Yogurt is a Healthy Food Imposter!

Let’s Review

Let’s take a moment to digest the smooth marketing tactics used by this leading yogurt manufacturer. For starters, they took a subpar yogurt and coupled it with junk food (Oreos). They hiked the price, calories, saturated fat, and chemical additives, and lowered the overall nutritional value. Brilliant or diabolical? Guess that depends on whether it’s better health or bigger profits you’re after!

Still on the fence? Here’s another scoop from our friends at Breyers. Later this year they will roll out their “light” version of YoCrunch Light Cookies n’ Cream Yogurt. This variety still uses the Oreos as the draw to get your attention. Only now they replace the natural sugar with a pair of artificial sweeteners. Folks, they’re simply trading one not-so-great ingredient with two harmful ones.

The new lighter version does have fewer calories and less fat than the regular version because they use nonfat yogurt. But, in our book, no amount of artificial sweeteners can sugarcoat the fact that this yogurt is still junk food.

Watch for our BestBrands e-newsletter next week – which will give you the complete lowdown on how to choose the truly healthiest brands of yogurts! We’ll serve up the brands without junk ingredients or added junk food.

Remember, when you’re armed with a little eBrandAid know-how, you’re in control at the grocery store.

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In Our Opinion: The information contained in the eBrandAid e-newsletters is strictly based on the opinions of the eBrand Doctors. We have created a set of guidelines that we believe will help shoppers to better understand and decode food labels on products found in most grocery stores. Our mission is to help shoppers find the healthier brands that have the least amount of chemicals and other junk ingredients.

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