Yogurt Expert Guesses Cheap vs Expensive Yogurt

In this episode of 'Price Points,' Epicurious challenges yogurt expert Jenny Ammirati of Culture: An American Yogurt Company to guess which one of two yogurts is more expensive. Jenny breaks down unstrained, frozen, Greek, Icelandic and drinkable yogurt before making her guesses!

Released on 7/16/2019

Transcript

00:00
My name is Jenny Ammirati, and I'm a yogurt expert.
00:03
[bright, jaunty music]
00:06
Ooh.
00:06
That's good.
00:11
[ding] [whooshes]
00:15
So looks like we have unstrained yogurt here.
00:18
This is the traditional type of yogurt
00:20
that we grew up eating that you
00:22
would've had in your household every morning for breakfast.
00:25
Yogurt is the bacterial fermentation
00:29
of milk and cultures, or bacteria.
00:33
So when you make a strained yogurt,
00:35
you would start out with three gallons of milk and end up
00:38
with one gallon of yogurt for your finished product.
00:43
With traditional yogurt, you start out with three gallons
00:47
of milk, and you end up with two and 3/4 gallons of yogurt.
00:52
Traditional yogurts like these
00:54
are generally more affordable for that reason.
00:57
Looking at these two yogurts in front of me,
01:00
yogurt A has a nice off-white color,
01:04
has a very smooth texture with a few bubbles
01:08
that tell me that this is actual yogurt.
01:10
That's a tell-tale sign.
01:13
Yogurt A looks pretty good.
01:14
Yogurt B has a little bit of a bluish tinge.
01:18
I would expect a traditional yogurt
01:20
that's not strained to be a little bit more yellow
01:23
because it still does have the whey in it.
01:26
It's this bright yellow neon liquid,
01:30
and it does give traditional yogurt a little bit
01:33
of a yellowish color.
01:35
These colors don't tell me very much,
01:36
but the yellow tint is what I would expect in the yogurt.
01:40
It's gonna come down to taste on these two.
01:42
I'm gonna give this a little stir.
01:44
It has a nice viscosity, this yogurt.
01:46
These little granules are from the actual yogurt cultures
01:51
that are used in the yogurt.
01:52
This is just something that happens when you make yogurt.
01:56
[fast-tempo, subdued chiming music]
02:00
This yogurt has a little bit of acidity
02:04
and a little bit of sweetness.
02:07
It has a nice, smooth mouthfeel.
02:09
It's a nice, balanced traditional yogurt.
02:11
So when I take a taste, I'm really gonna look for
02:14
is there a tang in this yogurt,
02:17
and can I tell anything about the milk that they used?
02:25
B has slightly more of a tang.
02:27
It's a little bit more acidic,
02:29
so I taste more of the sourness.
02:32
And I taste less of the dairy and less
02:35
of the sweetness in yogurt B.
02:37
This is tricky, you guys.
02:39
I'm pretty much basing it on the color.
02:41
The bright whiteness
02:44
in B doesn't seem as natural to me
02:49
and makes me think that A
02:51
might be the more expensive yogurt.
02:53
[drum roll] All right, guys,
02:54
the big moment, let's see.
02:59
15 cents an ounce, eight cents an ounce.
03:02
I was a little nervous for a second there, guys,
03:05
but it's gonna be okay now.
03:06
The more natural product is almost always going
03:09
to be the more expensive product
03:11
because it's going to take longer to produce.
03:13
The more highly manufactured product
03:16
is always gonna be the cheaper product
03:18
'cause it was produced more efficiently.
03:20
They're both good products.
03:21
They're both yogurts that you could enjoy with your granola
03:25
and strawberries for breakfast in the morning.
03:29
I am a huge frozen yogurt fan.
03:32
I make frozen yogurt, and I think one of the ways
03:36
that larger manufacturers go wrong with frozen yogurt
03:40
is that they try to make it taste like ice cream.
03:43
I like frozen yogurt to be yogurt,
03:47
frozen, to have that same tangy,
03:50
tart freshness that regular Greek yogurt has
03:55
but with a little bit of sweetness
03:57
and some flavorings, possibly.
04:00
I'm looking at yogurt A, and it's white.
04:03
I see a little bit of some bumps
04:07
that remind me of regular yogurt.
04:10
Looking at yogurt B, I see some inclusions
04:14
in here, some specks.
04:15
This might be vanilla bean specks,
04:18
which would be a sign of a high-quality ingredient
04:20
if there's actual vanilla bean included in it.
04:23
It's a little bit of a yellow color.
04:25
I assume that's because of the vanilla used in it.
04:29
A seems to be melting a little bit faster.
04:32
B seems to be keeping its shape.
04:34
I think there may be some stabilizers in B.
04:37
These are starting to melt, so I should probably dig in.
04:39
[subdued fast-tempo chiming music]
04:45
It's pretty creamy and smooth,
04:48
and it's got a nice amount of tang.
04:49
You can really tell that you're eating great tart yogurt.
04:53
Someone took the time
04:56
to make real yogurt
04:58
and then turn this into
05:01
real frozen yogurt.
05:04
This thing is the real deal here.
05:10
B tastes a lot like vanilla ice cream.
05:13
There's now tanginess in this frozen yogurt.
05:17
This is creamy, it has really nice notes of vanilla.
05:21
Fro-yo B is probably larger manufacturer
05:26
trying to appeal to a larger audience.
05:28
So comparing frozen yogurt A to frozen yogurt B
05:32
is like comparing apples to oranges.
05:35
One tastes like yogurt frozen,
05:39
and one tastes more like vanilla ice cream.
05:43
But I'm gonna say that frozen yogurt A
05:47
has that small batch quality that makes me think
05:50
that it's more expensive to make; let's see.
05:55
It's A. [laughs]
05:58
A is 56 cents an ounce, where B is 26 cents an ounce.
06:04
A is the clear winner, and it's the only frozen yogurt I
06:08
would eat, but this one also might be a little bit
06:11
of a taste preference, so there's somebody out there
06:13
who definitely prefers B.
06:17
Greek yogurt is the type of yogurt
06:19
that they are known for making in Greece
06:22
where they traditionally use a straining bag
06:26
to strain out the whey.
06:27
Greek yogurt is the most popular strained yogurt,
06:31
but there's many thick strained yogurts
06:33
throughout the world.
06:34
My company, Culture: An American Yogurt Company,
06:37
we've been making fresh Greek yogurt
06:39
from scratch for the past seven years,
06:42
so I feel pretty confident about this category.
06:45
Looking at A and B right now,
06:47
they're both very white in color.
06:49
B is much, much thicker.
06:51
The thicker it is, the less shiny I might expect it to be.
06:56
The shininess of yogurt A could be a sign
06:59
of a gelling agent in there.
07:02
Yogurt A might be a more commercial product,
07:04
certainly might be the more economical one of the two.
07:08
Okay, I'm gonna give yogurt A a little stir
07:11
and see what happens.
07:13
[subdued, fast-tempo chiming music]
07:15
It's very thick.
07:17
This is not as thick as I would like a Greek yogurt to be.
07:21
For me, this is something in between Greek and traditional.
07:25
All right, I'm gonna give it a taste.
07:29
Very tart.
07:31
It's probably more tangy than I
07:34
would have thought it would be.
07:37
It tastes like there may be some kind of thickener in there,
07:40
and you can taste that aftertaste.
07:43
It's probably
07:45
a nonfat Greek yogurt
07:47
because I don't taste a lot of creaminess in here.
07:50
It's a very simple tangy Greek yogurt.
07:57
B is definitely a thicker, creamier, tart Greek yogurt.
08:02
I'm hit by the thickness and creaminess of it.
08:05
So all of these things together
08:07
give me a really balanced bite of yogurt,
08:10
and, for me, it's much more of a pleasurable experience.
08:16
I would say that the complexity of flavor B,
08:21
to me, would signify that this
08:24
is probably a handcrafted yogurt.
08:27
This is probably made in small batches
08:30
by a craftsman or an artisan.
08:33
If they're using grass-fed milk or organic grass-fed milk,
08:38
that is going to cost them a lot more money.
08:41
And if they're making this in small batches
08:44
using traditional yogurt-making methods,
08:47
that labor-intensive process is gonna be hugely expensive.
08:51
A is probably a national brand; it's probably mass produced.
08:56
Because they are making a large volume of yogurt,
09:00
they benefit from economies of scale,
09:03
they benefit from purchasing power,
09:06
so they can sell their yogurt for a lower price.
09:10
All right, B is my choice. [drum roll]
09:12
I think B is going to be our more expensive yogurt.
09:16
Let's see.
09:20
All right, yes, I was right!
09:22
[claps hands and laughs]
09:23
With yogurt B, you're paying for the craftsmanship
09:26
and the quality ingredients.
09:28
And if you're buying Greek yogurt,
09:30
spending a little bit more money for a thicker,
09:33
creamier Greek yogurt is going to be worth it.
09:38
So traditionally, Icelandic yogurt is made
09:41
with nonfat milk or skim milk,
09:43
and it's a thick, strained, protein-rich, fat-free yogurt.
09:48
I would say Icelandic yogurt and Greek yogurt
09:50
are very similar.
09:52
The main difference would be the fact
09:54
that Icelandic yogurt typically only uses nonfat milk
09:58
where Greek yogurt is typically made
10:01
with whole milk or reduced-fat milk.
10:04
So my initial observation looking
10:06
at both of these yogurts is that I'm shocked
10:09
that these are both the same kind of yogurt.
10:11
Yogurt A is very, very thin.
10:14
It doesn't look like a strained yogurt at all to me,
10:17
and yogurt B is very thick,
10:21
almost as thick as a typical Greek yogurt.
10:25
They're both a similar color.
10:27
Flavor A is a more intense blue color.
10:30
Maybe that's indicative
10:33
of a stronger flavor, but we'll have to see.
10:38
So there's two basic ways that yogurts are flavored.
10:42
One way is where the flavor is put
10:44
at the bottom of the yogurt cup,
10:46
and then the unset yogurt is put
10:49
at the top of the yogurt cup.
10:51
The yogurt is capped and then put
10:53
into an incubator to incubate the yogurt.
10:56
The second way to flavor yogurt,
10:58
which is sometimes referred to as Swiss style,
11:01
to make things more confusing,
11:03
is when the flavor of the yogurt is stirred into the yogurt.
11:08
So if you wanna be technical,
11:10
this is a Swiss style Icelandic yogurt.
11:13
The only reason that I could think of
11:15
that yogurt A would be thinner
11:17
is that maybe they wanted to increase their yield
11:21
in yogurt A and they didn't wanna strain off all the whey.
11:24
I'm gonna have to dig into this to learn more.
11:27
I'm gonna start with yogurt A.
11:30
So actually, it is a little bit reassuring to see
11:34
that it has some thickness to it because they
11:37
are marketing themselves as an Icelandic yogurt.
11:40
All right, I'm gonna try it.
11:42
[fast-tempo, subdued chiming music]
11:47
It tastes like a blueberry yogurt.
11:49
It has a little bit of an aftertaste that I don't love.
11:53
It tastes like there's some other additional flavor added in
11:58
to give it that unique flavor profile.
12:01
I am not sure what that flavor is,
12:05
but it is certainly unique, and it probably costs more money
12:08
to put in whatever flavor it is that they added to flavor A.
12:12
I'm gonna move on to yogurt B.
12:13
I like the thickness.
12:14
I like how I could flip it over
12:16
and it doesn't fall off my spoon.
12:18
All right, I'm gonna give it a taste.
12:23
Yogurt B is also not an overly sweet yogurt.
12:28
It has a lot of tang to it.
12:30
Yogurt B might be more mass produced.
12:33
It has less depth of flavor.
12:35
Yogurt A seems like it has more premium-quality ingredients.
12:40
Even though these flavor combinations didn't work out,
12:44
I'm gonna say [drum roll]
12:44
that A is the more expensive yogurt.
12:47
All right, fingers crossed.
12:50
I'm right, yes. [laughs]
12:53
Yogurt A is 56 cents an ounce,
12:57
and yogurt B is 30 cents an ounce.
12:59
We're gonna say that yogurt A
13:02
is probably a small craftsman testing out new ingredients,
13:07
and it costs more to be innovative and test things out.
13:12
It takes a lot of effort for a company
13:15
to put out a new product.
13:17
So if you see a new product out there
13:18
from a small maker, give it a shot.
13:23
Drinkable yogurt is usually delicious.
13:26
Typically, when people think about drinkable yogurt,
13:30
they think about kefir,
13:32
which is a specific type of drinkable yogurt
13:34
with about seven different cultures in it.
13:37
Drinkable yogurt is a great way to get probiotic cultures.
13:42
It's easy, it's quick, it's portable.
13:45
It's a great way for adults and kids
13:47
to get their probiotics.
13:48
The trade-off may be that a lot of drinkable yogurts
13:52
on the market are huge sugar bombs.
13:55
Naturally, none of the whey is strained off,
13:58
so there's the natural sugar that occurs in the milk
14:00
plus there's a lot of added sugar
14:03
in a lot of these drinkable yogurts.
14:05
So it's just something to be aware of
14:06
and something to look out for.
14:08
Visibly, there's a lot of differences
14:10
between these two yogurts.
14:12
So this one I can assume
14:15
that there's probably real fruit in here.
14:16
I could tell by the little specks
14:18
of seeds that I see in this product.
14:21
This one I can't tell from looking at it
14:24
whether there's any real fruit in it.
14:26
I don't see any seeds.
14:27
It may have been strained or it may
14:30
have been blended very, very well.
14:31
But, just from looking at it, I can't tell.
14:34
B smells not that tangy.
14:37
There is a strawberry smell, but it's a little bit
14:40
of an artificial strawberry smell.
14:42
It's very common in food manufacturing
14:46
to add scents to food.
14:48
Because so much of taste is scent,
14:52
it is a little bit of trickery
14:53
to make you think that there is more
14:56
of that flavor in what you're consuming.
14:58
Let's give it a taste.
15:00
[fast-tempo, subdued chiming music]
15:04
It's not very tart at all.
15:05
I don't get a strong yogurt flavor.
15:07
It tastes a little bit like drinking cotton candy to me,
15:11
and it's probably something that's marketed to kids.
15:15
I don't think yogurt needs to be this sweet.
15:17
I'm gonna give this one a try.
15:23
This one has a really nice, tart flavor.
15:28
You get that tang of the yogurt along
15:31
with a little bit of strawberry flavor.
15:33
It's sweet but not too sweet.
15:35
I really like this one.
15:37
I could drink a whole bottle.
15:38
So I think that yogurt A is the more expensive one.
15:42
It's more expensive because it probably has real fruit.
15:46
It tastes like a more natural product.
15:50
Yogurt B
15:53
tastes like it's made with artificial flavorings
15:57
and tons of sugar.
16:00
So I think A [drum roll]
16:01
is the more expensive product.
16:03
All right, let's find out.
16:08
Yay!
16:09
Yogurt A is 23 cents an ounce,
16:11
and yogurt B is 15 cents an ounce.
16:15
You should always go with yogurt A
16:18
if these are your two options
16:20
because it's just a much more high-quality product.
16:25
It's something that is going to be much more enjoyable
16:29
and probably healthier.
16:32
I'd be happy drinking this every morning.
16:34
Yogurt is a healthy and delicious food enjoyed all
16:37
around the world.
16:39
With so many different varieties,
16:41
go out, try them all, and find the one that's right for you.