Greek Yogurt ‘Bars’: The Hottest New Food Trend?

Posted on 7 August, 2012  in Press


By Caitlin Brown

If you’re like the millions of Americans who have become addicted to Greek yogurt over the last few years, you probably stock up on a week’s supply at your local grocery store, enjoying the treat for breakfast, as part of a healthy lunch or even as a snack. But now, you can grab a cup of Greek yogurt on the go — much like you’d pick up a cone of fro-yo.

Sweet and savory Greek yogurt creations are now available at 17 Pinkberry locations across the U.S., to complement their traditional frozen fare. Dannon and Chobani debuted similar non-frozen Greek yogurt “bars” (think coffee bars or salad bars) in July, transforming their traditionally packaged yogurt into a gourmet, in-store treat.

“We’ve always been a yogurt company, so we’re thrilled to bring Greek yogurt into our stores and expose people to different ways to enjoy yogurt and incorporate it into their daily routine,” Laura Jakobsen, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Design at Pinkberry, tells HealthySELF.

Many of the Pinkberry stores that sell Greek yogurt now open their doors to customers at 8 in the morning, just in time for a protein-packed breakfast. Kiwi (kiwi, mango, strawberries, honey almond granola and vanilla agave) and chocolate berry (chocolate granola, blueberries, raspberries, honey and shaved milk chocolate) are just two of the flavor combos available at Pinkberry. Even more intriguing are the savory flavors, including pesto, cucumber and tomato-basil.

Dannon and Chobani have opened stores in New York City that similarly serve Greek yogurt with a variety of fresh toppings. Chobani SoHo, which just opened on July 25, describes itself as a “Mediterranean yogurt bar.” A few of our favorite topping combinations include pistachio and chocolate, fig and walnut, and PB&J.

Dannon’s store, The Yogurt Culture Company, offers traditional, Greek and frozen yogurt served in a cup with toppings or as a parfait. Toppings include fresh fruit, granola, nuts and some “novelty” items. “The Yogurt Culture Company is the first of its kind to offer a truly customized experience in which guests chose the base yogurt — traditional or Greek plain unsweetened yogurt made from whole milk or fat-free milk — and then add the sweetener of their choice at the level of sweetness they prefer and then add the toppings of their choice,” says Michael J. Neuwirth, Senior Director of Public Relations for The Dannon Company.

The best part? Greek yogurt is good for you, too! According to SELF contributing editors Stephanie Clarke and Willow Jarosh, registered dietitians and co-founders of C&J Nutrition, Greek yogurt typically provides about 19 to 21 grams of protein per 6 ounces, compared to just 6 to 7 ounces of protein in normal yogurt. The 4 oz size at Pinkberry has 12 grams of protein and just 70 calories (before toppings), and the larger, 6 oz meal size has a whopping 18 grams of protein and just 100 calories.

The three stores are also focusing on all-natural and organic ingredients: Chobani’s yogurt is gluten-free and kosher, Pinkberry’s contains no added sugar and Dannon’s comes from a family-owned dairy farm. “We take a lot of pride in the quality of our yogurt,” Jakobsen said about the Pinkberry products. “Our perspective is that you add the flavor through fresh ingredients.”

Dannon and Chobani have not discussed plans for future locations, but Pinkberry is planning to add Greek yogurt to its stores across the country “definitely by the beginning of next year,” Jakobsen said. This is one healthy trend we’re hoping catches on fast!