Taste Test: Frozen Yogurt

by in Taste Test, August 26, 2009

Dana and I are both ice cream fanatics, but I’ve been wanting to find some lower-calorie treats (that don’t have artificial sweeteners) to enjoy during these hot days. For this taste test, we tried five brands from our local markets to see how their flavors measured up.

NOTE: Below we list the brand, share nutrition info (per 1/2-cup servings) and give it a rating based on taste, creaminess and the healthier aspects.

Edy’s Slow Churned Yogurt Blends: Vanilla
Rating: 4.5
Nutrition Info (per 1/2 cup): 100 calories; 3 grams of total fat; 1.5 grams of saturated fat
Our Take: My dad got in on the action and tasted some of the Edy’s. Although he’s a chocolate fanatic, he agreed that it had a nice, creamy consistency. This yogurt is also labeled “gluten-free.” While yogurt is gluten-free naturally, many manufacturers may package their yogurts in facilities that also handle products containing wheat.

Sweet Scoops Frozen Yogurt: Madagascar Vanilla
Rating: 3
Nutrition Info: 140 calories; 6 grams of total fat; 3.5 grams of saturated fat
Our Take: This brand had a nice, sweet vanilla flavor, but it was a little too sweet for my taste buds. The consistency was icy and felt grainy in my mouth. Dana’s suggestion: Try it in a milkshake with some fresh fruit and skim milk.
*Note: The nutrition label on product says it contains 150 calories while the website states 140 per 1/2 cup. Ingredients listed in both places are the same.

Stonyfield Farm Nonfat Frozen Yogurt: Gotta Have Vanilla
Rating: 5
Nutrition Info: 100 calories; 0 grams of total fat; 0 grams of saturated fat
Our Take: In terms of creaminess and calories, this yogurt was awesome. Both Dana and I were shocked that it tasted so good. Stonyfield is known for using organic and all-natural ingredients that don’t have added antibiotics or synthetic hormones. They also use rice syrup for sweetness (maybe that’s the secret?).

Häagen-Dazs Low Fat Frozen Yogurt: Vanilla
Rating: 4
Nutrition Info: 200 calories; 4.5 grams of total fat; 2.5 gram of saturated fat
Our Take: Although it had a very creamy texture, this baby was way too sweet. They get props for using all natural ingredients with no preservatives or thickeners, but if you’re trying to watch those calories, this probably shouldn’t be your first choice — it was the highest of them all.
*Note: The product’s label says it contains 180 calories, 2.5 grams of total fat and 1 gram of saturated fat per serving; we list the website information above.

Julie’s Organic Lowfat Frozen Yogurt: Vanilla Bean
Rating: 4
Nutrition Info: 140 calories; 3 grams of total fat; 2 grams of saturated fat
Our Take: Don’t you love when you can see those vanilla specs? The texture was creamy and the flavor was decent. Cane juice and tapioca syrup were two listed sweeteners.
*Note: Julie’s is a smaller brand and may not be carried in all supermarkets.

How Does It Compare to Regular Yogurt?
All the yogurts we tasted contained 10 to 20% of your daily calcium needs in their 1/2-cup serving. That made these a decent alternative to the regular yogurts you might already be eating. When checking labels further, I noticed that all the frozen yogurt brands had different live cultures in them. I wondered: don’t the live cultures die when frozen? Why would all the companies list them?

I found the answer to that on Stonyfield Farm’s Q&A section of their website. It seems that, once frozen, the yogurt’s cultures become dormant (and some die), but they’ll become active again when thawed. Since there are billions of live cultures in the yogurt (billions!), the handful that don’t make it past your freezer aren’t a big deal. Why do the cultures matter? This Tufts Journal article has a good synopsis of frozen yogurt’s cultures and any benefits they have.

TELL US: Agree? Disagree? Do you have a favorite frozen yogurt?

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Comments (23)

  1. guest says:

    My kids love frozen yogurt in lieu of ice cream. We just polished off Julie's vanilla and it was delicious! I love Stoneyfield, but it isn't always in stock at our Whole Foods.

  2. Lydia says:

    I love Kemp's Nonfat Frozen Vanilla Yogurt. I'm not sure what supermarkets it's available nationwide, but in Missouri it's offered at a grocery store called Hy-Vee. It had 70 calories and 0g fat, plus it was DELICIOUS. I loved it!

  3. rls says:

    Does Trader Joe's, which I understand is in San Francisco, export their products to other stores, like Whole Foods Market? I would like to try their frozen yogurt, as mentioned in one of the above comments.

  4. Sissy says:

    Oh, you must try Schwan's frozen yogurt…the best…vanilla, peaches, berry…try it. It is great.

  5. Roz says:

    I am so lucky I live in Florida. Publix store brand frozen yogurt is the best!

  6. Nicole says:

    Mmm, I love Safeway's generic brand of Lowfat Vanilla Bean ice cream. Going to have to try Stoneyfield though!

  7. Mmmmmm…..I'm going to have to try the Stoneyfield flavors…that is, when I can't make it to Golden Spoon for my Fro Yo fix! :o)

  8. LoveMyFroYo says:

    I love ALL of the Stoneyfield flavors!! My personal favs are the Gotta Have Java and Gotta Have Vanilla…but all of them are fabulous! I rarely go out for fro-yo these days bc none of them are as good as the Stoneyfield in my freezer.

  9. Dandy Don says:

    I love Edy's fat free vanilla. Great taste and texture and much better for you than ice cream or ice milk. I will usually put fresh fruit on it, but even by itself, it tastes wonderful. When on sale the prices are also very affordable. I am anxious to try the Stoneyfield when I can find it. I never thought that something that tastes so good could still be healthy.

  10. Shirley says:

    I have made a vanilla frozen yogurt in my ice cream maker with Greek yogurt, sugar, and vanilla. After it was stored in the freezer for an hour to set per instructions, it tasted really good and creamy. However, the next day it was as hard as a rock and like a block of ice, difficult to defrost to the same creamy consistency. Does anyone know what I should add to the recipe to maintain the consistency?

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