Saturday, April 2, 2011

Greek Yogurt Taste Test

     Greek yogurt is such a staple in the Clean Eating diet that I thought I'd review the major brands ( and up and coming brands ) with a comparison taste test. Please note: I bought all yogurts with my own money. I haven't been paid to write any reviews.

For consistency's sake, I purchased the Vanilla or Honey Vanilla flavor of each brand I reviewed, and purchased ones with 0% fat. ( personally, I don't eat the "high test" versions, with some having upwards of 15+ grams of fat per serving. That isn't just Unclean, that is Unhealthy! )

Oikos yogurt is actually a sub division of Stonyfield Farms, one of the leading manufacturers of organic yogurts in the US. It is made from organic milk, and doesn't contain any artificial flavoring, preservatives, hormones, or antibiotics - very Clean. Taste wise, it is thick as you'd expect Greek yogurt to be, and on a "tart scale" of 1 to 5, I'd give its tanginess to be about a 3  meaning moderately tangy. I didn't find it to be too sweet, or too much like a dessert pudding. I will definitely buy Oikos again when on sale.

Chobani yogurt is derived from the Turkish word meaning "Shepherd." It is extremely rich and thick, but is definitely less tangy than other brands...about a 1.5 on the tangy scale. If you like your yogurt less tangy, Chobani is the choice for you. It is hormone free and gluten free - certified Kosher if that is something important to you. I buy Chobani on a regular basis.

Dannon yogurt is the national brand which I feel is most made to appeal to consumers who are used to regular "fruit on the bottom" yogurt we are all familiar with. It is middle of the road; nothing to get excited about or to go out of your way to purchase. It's...there. As for tangy? Not so much. It does have added sugar, so be aware if you are truly looking to eliminate added sugar from your diet. There are other much better yogurts out there for Clean may as well make every bite meaningful.

Trader Joe's non fat Greek yogurt ( if you have a TJ's near you... ) is an excellent choice for the Clean Eater. Made without hormones or artificial anything, their Greek yogurt is almost universally acclaimed for it's richness, smoothness, with a great balance of sweet and tang. I love this brand, and when I get to my ( very crowded ) Trader Joe's, it is the one product I make sure gets into the basket. Tang factor is about 3.5 on the scale of 1 to 5. Not the tangiest - but definitely no shrinking violet. You know you aren't eating what I call "Jello Pudding" yogurt. It is a definite must try / must buy.

Fage Yogurt ( "full test" shown above; I don't have a pic of the 0% fat kind! ) is the national brand that I am told comes closest to the tangy goodness you can actually find in Greece. It is a definite 4 on the tangy scale from 1 to 5, with a richness and smoothness I enjoyed. It is also made from organic milk and is very low in ingredients like most of the yogurts above ( except for Dannon! ) Fage is not for the beginning Greek yogurt eater, unless you really have always enjoyed tangy yogurt. You can either spoon the honey into the yogurt chamber, or bend it so it adds, like this:

So overall, I rank the above like this ( according to my taste ) :

Trader Joe's

Dishonorable Mention:

Safeway brand Greek Yogurt

What brand do you recommend to others, and why?