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February 18, 2019

When It Comes to Yogurt, Size and Ingredients Matter

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Health,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:51 am

Have you read any good yogurt labels lately? You may be in for a surprise.

Here is the 6-oz. container of Yoplait Original strawberry banana yogurt:

Yoplait 6-oz

It is made with real strawberries and bananas, just as the front label depicts.

Thrifty shoppers, however, may find it more economical to buy the quart size container of Yoplait Original strawberry banana. But, they will get less than they bargained for.


Yoplait 32 oz

Checking the ingredients, all the real strawberries and bananas disappeared! While it does say “smooth style” on the front of the label, one might have reasonably assumed that they merely blenderized the fruit into the yogurt to create a uniform, smooth texture.

Nope. And the fine print of the front of the label doesn’t help much either. It says, “flavored with other natural flavor,” which might to the average shopper merely convey that other flavors are also mixed in.

Not to be outdone by this bit of yogurt trickery, once upon a time, Yoplait made a line of Yoplait Whips for the Girl Scouts evoking the flavors of some of their bestselling cookies.

Here is Yoplait’s Girl Scouts “peanut butter chocolate” Whips… but something is missing.


Yoplait peanut butter

According to the ingredients, there is no peanut butter in Yoplait’s peanut butter chocolate yogurt.

We asked General Mills, the maker of Yoplait, about the labeling of these two products. In particular, why different sizes of seemingly the same product did not have the same contents, and why they don’t more accurately describe the product on the front of the container. The company did not respond.

FDA regulations unfortunately allow manufacturers to play games with how product flavors are labeled, even to the point of permitting none of the depicted ingredient to actually be present in the product.

(i) If the food is one that is commonly expected to contain a characterizing food ingredient, e.g., strawberries in “strawberry shortcake”, and the food contains natural flavor derived from such ingredient and an amount of characterizing ingredient insufficient to independently characterize the food, or the food contains no such ingredient, the name of the characterizing flavor may be immediately preceded by the word “natural” and shall be immediately followed by the word “flavored” in letters not less than one-half the height of the letters in the name of the characterizing flavor, e.g., “natural strawberry flavored shortcake,” or “strawberry flavored shortcake”.

This is called consumer protection?

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  1. Giving luscious names to products and then cheating on the ingredients is never out of bounds for any manufacturer. Profits and satisfying the investors are their concerns, and they hope you won’t notice any irregularities.

    Comment by MerryMarjie — February 18, 2019 @ 10:16 am
  2. This morning I had a light breakfast: A cup of plain Cabot Greek yogurt (purchased in the 2 lb. tub) combined with a mashed banana and mashed mango and cinnamon. Keeping it real. Tomorrow, fresh strawberries. Yum.

    Comment by Marty — February 18, 2019 @ 10:45 am
  3. Most weeks it takes me about 90 minutes to grocery shop because I read the ingredient labels on everything I buy. It’s the one place manufactures can’t lie. It drives my wife nuts (she’s the quick in and out type shopper) so much she stopped coming with me.

    Comment by Todd — February 19, 2019 @ 9:18 am
  4. I’m with you, Edgar. It’s not consumer protection, it’s gobbledygook designed to protect the manufacturer. There’s no more protection for the consumer, it seems.

    Comment by Ronnie — February 20, 2019 @ 2:23 am
  5. The smaller yogurt has a big banner on the front stating “made with real fruit” that is missing from the larger size. That’s a pretty decent difference, in my opinion.

    Comment by MarcK1024 — February 22, 2019 @ 7:09 am

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