Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Great Yogurt Showdown!

As many people know, I am a bit . . . wacky.  So it should come as no surprise that recently I became obsessed with YOGURT!  Specifically, what the heck is up with "Greek yogurt"?  People keep talking about it like it's the greatest thing on Earth, and I was unclear on what it was, and more importantly, how it tastes!  So of course, I went around buying up all kinds of yogurts, Greek and otherwise, for a taste test showdown!  Oh, how I love taste tests.  Obviously, I must share my results with the internet!

My goal was to pit nonfat Greek, full-fat Greek, and full-fat normal yogurts against each other.  These Greek yogurts claim to be all super-creamy and as good as full-fat, so I was going to see if that is true (spoiler alert: it's totally not!). I was also looking forward to just enjoying some full-fat yogurt, which I never buy, but have fond childhood memories of.  Actually, it appears that full-fat yogurt is an endangered species in the world of yogurt, a world which seems to be fully in that depressing grocery category of "let's be as low-fat and low-calorie as possible for the dieting population".  Ah well, down to business.

 (OK, so I bought a couple extra Brown Cow flavors because they looked so good -- and they were!)

First, it should be noted that even though this was a blind test test (thank you, hubby!) and I cleansed my palate in between spoonfuls by drinking water and smelling coffee beans, this test did not have the greatest scientific accuracy.  Mostly because I didn't want to have 30 open yogurts at once (another extinct species in the world of yogurt: the lid!  Oh, and 8 oz. containers, but I digress), nor eat all that much yogurt at once.  So I had to split the tests over several days.

I decided to compare yogurts in the most common flavor -- vanilla -- but I also found some honey, strawberry, and blueberry worth comparing, too.  I bought whatever I found at Winco and Fred Meyer.

In my ratings,
1 = worst.  Gross, inedible, otherwise yucky.
2 = pretty bad, but I guess I could eat it if I was hungry.
3 = A decent, good yogurt. Neither here nor there.
4 = yum! Great taste!
5 = best. Super good.  More, please!

Here we go!


 (I threw a full-fat vanilla in, too, for comparison's sake. The YoBaby stuff conveniently came in a 4-pack of small ones, easy for my tests!)
Dannon Greek Vanilla No Fat: a little chalky, sweet, tacky/sticky. 2/5.
At the end of the round, I determined that this one was better than both Oikos and Fred Meyer.

Chobani Greek Vanilla No Fat: No vanilla flavor, like sour cream, too sour, OK creamy but icky taste of mildew. 1/5.
This stuff was beyond gross.
Stonyfield Oikos Greek Vanilla No Fat: Pleasant, bland, not very sweet, weird taste, some other weird taste, not vanilla. 2/5

Fred Meyer Greek Vanilla No Fat: Sweet, good creamy, strangely fruity.  3/5.
This brand was sweetened with Stevia, which is why, I think, it tasted a little weird.
Stonyfield YoBaby Vanilla Whole Milk: watery, good vanilla taste, 4/5.


Fred Meyer Blended Sweetened Plain: Tasty, very sweet, creamy, good, no vanilla taste. 4/5.
I had never seen a "sweetened plain" flavor before! (Guess that means it's no longer "plain".) This was lowfat.  I'd buy it again!
Yoplait Greek No Fat Honey Vanilla: sour, fake sweet, tiny bit gummy, gluey, no flavor, vague taste of "basement". 1/5.
Voskos Greek No Fat Honey Vanilla: chalky, vanilla taste, too sweet, cloying. 2/5.
Stonyfield YoBaby Whole Milk Vanilla: creamy, tasty, like normal yogurt. 4/5.


Fred Meyer Greek Nonfat Honey: fake sweet, tacky. 2.5/5.
Again, sweetened with Stevia.
Fage Total [Full Fat] with Honey: Whoa!! Creamy, honey flavor, like dessert at a restaurant, not too sweet. 5/5.
This was out of control creamy fatty goodness! It seemed like it should be a topping for something else, not to be eaten in such a quantity. Indulgent!!
Greek Gods Traditional [Full Fat] Greek Honey: nice and smooth, preferred texture for yogurt, somehow tastes like it was made with tap water from a city I'm not used to. 4/5.
Fage 2% Lowfat Honey: intense honey flavor, nice consistency, not sour, not so creamy. 3/5
Zoi Greek Honey [Full Fat]: tangy, creamy, thicker and better than #3 [Greek Gods].  Good balance between sweet and tangy. 5/5.
This was super good without being as overpoweringly creamy-fatty as Fage Total.


(I had to doctor this photo because I threw in two different Tillamooks at the last minute.)
(Note: I could have included a Greek Gods vanilla one, but it also had cinnamon and orange, so I felt that was too different from regular vanilla to include.  Also it didn't sound very good!)

Tillamook Vanilla Bean Lowfat: sweet, weird tap water taste, gelatinous, vanilla, not creamy. 2.5/5.
Zoi Greek [Full Fat] Vanilla: tangy, "yogurty", creamy vanilla, thick without being chalky. 4/5.
Stonyfield YoBaby Whole Milk Vanilla: thinner, not so much vanilla, nice creamy; not gel-y or chalky. 3.5/5.
This got a bit downgraded after tasting Zoi!
Redwood Hill Farm GOAT MILK Vanilla: AUGGH!! Really weird, creamy, sweet earthy flavor, bad Chinese food taste. 1/5.
Well, I guess I don't like goat's milk yogurt, at least not this one!
Brown Cow Cream Top Vanilla: tangy, good consistency, no vanilla, not sweet. 3/5.
Mountain High Original Style [Full Fat] Vanilla: tangy, good texture, thin, not as creamy. 2.75/5.
Tillamook Lowfat French Vanilla Bean: no vanilla, sticky, sweet. 3/5.


Yoplait Greek No Fat Strawberry: sour, tacky, no cream. 1.5/5.
Fit and Fruity Lowfat Strawberry: decent, a little sweet, good strawberry flavor; your standard, run of the mill strawberry yogurt. 3/5.
Note that this is made with sugar, not HFCS. I thought Tillamook was the only lowfat one out there made with sugar, but I was wrong!
Zoi Greek [Full Fat] Strawberry Cream: yum! Like strawberry ice cream! More, please! 5/5.
(not pictured) Dannon Light and Fit Nonfat Strawberry: fake sweet, what milk? gross gel. 1/5.
My mom had left a few of these from her last visit.  She eats this sort of thing (nonfat yogurt) every day, but I think it is NASTY!


Zoi Greek [Full Fat] Blueberry Cream: nice real blueberry flavor, good thick texture, creamy. 4.5/5.
Yoplait Greek Nonfat Blueberry: Yeeech, worse blueberry flavor, chalky, sour without being nicely tangy, thick, soap taste. 1/5.
Greek Gods Greek [Full Fat] Honey Blueberry: runnier, creamy, tangy, different blueberry flavor, somehow tastes like a grape popsicle. 3.5/5.
Brown Cow Cream Top Blueberry: nice blueberry flavor, sweet, creamy. 3/5.
Siggi's Icelandic Style Skyr Strained Nonfat Blueberry: stiff, way too thick, like cheese, very sour, no blueberry flavor. 1/5.
This stuff was disgusting. It has vegetable rennet in it, so no wonder it was cheese-like!  What the hell??  I don't know what "skyr" is supposed to be, but I'll tell you what, this was gross.

I went to Whole Foods to get my laundry detergent (which they were out of, ugh, so now I have to go all the way across town some other time, arrgh), and discovered even more brands of crazy yogurt!  Too bad none of them were that good.  Well, they had Zoi, but it's WAY cheaper (under a buck) at my beloved Winco.

Wallaby Lowfat Vanilla: pleasant, sweet, milky, vanilla, average. 3/5.
I added this lowfat one because hubby likes Wallaby, so wanted to see how it stacked up.
Noosa Honey [Full Fat]: weird, very creamy, almost gamey, very thick, sweet, no vanilla. 3.5/5.
This is supposedly some Australian thing . . . bizarre how animal-fatty the milk tasted!
Skyr.is [No Fat] Vanilla: sour, weird gross aftertaste like suspicious meat, chalky, very thick. 1/5
This did not contain rennet, but it was just as nasty as the other "skyr"!
Liberte Mediterranee [Full Fat] French Vanilla: good creamy, good texture, tart, sweet enough, it's decent. 4/5.
Bellweather Farms SHEEP MILK Vanilla: eeeek! Did you just give me a cut lemon? super sour, very runny, no vanilla, weird aftertaste. 1.5/5.
As bad as this was, it was not nearly as bad as the goat's milk stuff!
Strauss Whole Milk Vanilla: so sad, sour gel consistency, no vanilla, yucky aftertaste. 1/5.
This one was "European Style", so Europeans must like their yogurt "unpleasant".
Stonyfield YoBaby Whole Milk Vanilla: sweeter, no creamy fat flavor, good vanilla, nothing special. 3/5.
Eros Greek Lowfat 2% Vanilla: mouth agape in disbelief, like grapes and bad Chinese food, fake freezerburnt ice cream, worst of the lot, almost gagged. 1/5.
For whatever reason, this was TOTALLY GROSS. Avoid!!!


First, the big winners.
5 out of 5: Fage Total with Honey, Zoi Honey, Zoi Strawberry Cream.
4.5: Zoi Blueberry.
4: Stonyfield YoBaby Vanilla, Fred Meyer Blended Sweetened Plain, Greek Gods Honey, Zoi Vanilla, Liberte Mediterranee French Vanilla.

If I had to choose a nonfat Greek yogurt to eat, I'd choose the Dannon Vanilla.  But you know what? None of them were actually TASTY, so I really wouldn't choose to eat this type of yogurt!  Their claims of being "rich and creamy" are only true in the sense that they are tackier/stickier than those chalky gel-like nonfat regular yogurts.  I hate nonfat yogurt, and now I know this covers Greek yogurt as well.  I was amazed at just how gross a lot of these yogurts were.  Perhaps eating one on its own wouldn't be so bad, but in a big taste test, a bunch of these just FAIL!

As for claims of being high-protein, this may be true for some of the Greek yogurts, but a lot of the whole milk ones were similar in protein content.  No-Fat Greek Yogurt = total hype.

The whole milk regular yogurts were a mixed bag.  The full fat Greek yogurts are great!  Their fat content varies wildly, though.  Some regular whole milk yogurts were super tasty and creamy, while others had the disappointing taste and consistency of lowfat yogurt.  I have nothing against lowfat yogurt for the most part, but it's not worth it to me to eat the major fat grams in a full-fat if the taste is going to be . . . just like lowfat.  You know?

I also noted that the Tillamook lowfat yogurts that I have been buying occasionally are really sweet compared to some of the other full-fat brands.  I guess when companies take out fat, they add sugar to compensate.  Anyway, the grams of sugar in Tillamook were about twice what they were in many of the other vanillas.  I think I will stick to my Nancy's Lowfat Plain 32-oz tub (thank you, Winco!), and put honey and fruits in it myself.  No more sweet mini-tubs of lowfat yogurt!  If I want a treat, I will just eat some Zoi and be happy. :)  Or Brown Cow Cream Top Maple.  YUM!  Fat is where it's at.

Wallaby Chocolate Down Under = tastes like I threw some cocoa powder into vanilla yogurt. A dud.
Brown Cow Chocolate Cream Top = a step up, but still mostly unexciting.
Better to just have some chocolate pudding on both fronts. Just so you know!

PPS-- I still want to see what brands they have at Safeway! hee hee!
PPPS-- What will happen when I freeze some of my favorite full fat ones? :)