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August 4, 2014

Chobani, Hostess squeeze every last drop out of Greek-yogurt craze

These days, Greek-style yogurt makes everything more marketable

There were already many ways to buy Chobani, the popular Greek-style yogurt. Including new flavors, there are four varieties with fruit on the bottom, 13 blended flavors (including “limited batches” of watermelon and pink grapefruit), 11 yogurts with 100-calorie servings, and eight Flips (which have separate toppings).

Mr. Tidbit is saddened (but not surprised) to report that Chobani now also comes in the squeeze-it-in-your-face tubes made popular by Yoplait’s Go-Gurt. (Chobani’s are 2-ounce tubes, where Go-Gurts are 2 1/4 ounces — but the Chobani tubes have 30 percent less sugar than the same amount of Go-Gurt.)

Mr. Tidbit was a bit more surprised to see new Chobani Indulgent (whole-milk yogurt — 6 grams of fat per serving), in three dessertlike flavors (Banana & Dark Chocolate, Raspberry & Dark Chocolate and Mint & Dark Chocolate). He was saddened, however, to note that the chocolate consists of tiny flecks, as difficult to taste as they are to see. Mr. Tidbit feels that a squirt of Hershey syrup would be far more satisfying.

And there’s yet one more new line: Chobani Oats, yogurt with steel-cut oats in four flavors. Mr. Tidbit notes that Chobani claims to use oats that are “carefully selected gluten-free.”

With the popularity of Greek yogurt (yogurt with some of the whey drained off), it has become a highlighted ingredient in a number of products to which any Greekness in the yogurt surely contributes little or nothing.

Take new Hostess Greek Yogurt Cakes. In addition to “Greek Yogurt” in the name in large type, the front of the box says “made with Real Greek Yogurt.” The Greek yogurt appears in the “contains 2 percent or less of” part of the ingredient list, where it is revealed to be “Greek yogurt powder (nonfat dry milk, lactic acid).”

The box front also notes that the cakes contain 25 percent less sugar than Hostess’ regular coffee cakes, and that they contain “real honey.” Both true enough, but honey is down in the less-than-2-percent part of the list, and sugar is still the first ingredient of these little cakes.

All such muttering aside, Mr. Tidbit has to say that he surprised himself by rather liking them!

Mr. Tidbit is a weekly feature that examines new grocery products.

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