Industry FAQs

What is frozen yogurt?

Frozen yogurt, aka frozen yoghurt, fro-yo, froyo, frogurt, or yogourt glace, is a frozen dessert made from or containing yogurt. Frozen yogurt typically contains milk, yogurt cultures, and sweetener. Sometimes emulsifiers and stabilizers are added to improve frozen yogurt texture.

The answer to this question is not as straightforward as yogurt that’s been frozen. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) established a standard of identity for yogurt, as a product produced by culturing dairy products with a bacterial culture with a minimum of 10 million live cultures per gram, it has no standard of identity for frozen yogurt.

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What is the history of frozen yogurt?

The word yogurt means to curdle in Turkish. It was likely invented around 5000 BC and is one of the world’s oldest man-made foods. Surprisingly, frozen yogurt is a relatively new food, invented in the early 1970’s as a soft serve dessert marketed as “Frogurt” by H.P. Hood, a New England dairy operator. Frozen yogurt in the 1970’s was marketed as a healthier, lowfat alternative to ice cream and had a tart taste that lacked mainstream appeal in the US. The company known today as YoCream International got its start as Yogurt Stand in 1976. Honey Hill Farms was founded in 1978.

The first wave of frozen yogurt popularity occurred in the US during the 1980’s. Frozen yogurt in the 1980’s was still marketed as a healthier alternative to ice cream but the difference was that the product was formulated to taste more like soft serve ice cream. Frozen yogurt shops opened up across the US, starting on the East Coast. TCBY opened its first shop in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1981, grew rapidly during the 1980s, and became the largest frozen yogurt store chain in the world with 1,665 locations in 1990. By the early 90’s many frozen yogurt shops had closed. Frozen yogurt production reached its height in 1995 at 152.1 million gallons. By 2007, frozen yogurt production had fallen to 61 million gallons.

The second coming of frozen yogurt in the U.S. can be attributed to the cult like popularity of Pinkberry, opened its first store in West Hollywood in 2005. Unlike the frozen yogurt that was popular in the 1980s, the new Korean style soft serve frozen yogurt was tart and tangy. This new style of frozen yogurt had already become popular in Seoul, South Korea several years before Pinkberry opened in the US. Red Mango opened in Seoul in 2002 and quickly gained popularity. Pinkberry inspired shops popped up throughout the US. Frozen yogurt’s popularity continued to grow as with the US consumers became enamored with the self-serve frozen yogurt shop format.

When was frozen yogurt invented?

Surprisingly, frozen yogurt is a relatively new food, invented in the early 1970’s as a soft serve dessert marketed as “Frogurt” by H.P. Hood, a New England dairy operator. Frozen yogurt in the 1970’s was marketed as a healthier, lowfat alternative to ice cream and had a tart taste that lacked mainstream appeal in the US.

Why is frozen yogurt so popular?

Frozen yogurt’s cyclical popularity has been tied to the increase in health conscious of consumers. Frozen yogurt has always been perceived as a healthier alternative to ice cream. The new more natural, tangy style frozen yogurt struck a chord with consumers. Frozen yogurt’s popularity is also boosted by the trendy, image conscious ambiance of some frozen yogurt stores and the popularity of frozen yogurt with celebrities. The design inspiration can in many ways be attributed to Pinkberry, which has featured minimalist, modern, designer furnishings like Philippe Starck Ghost chairs and Le Klint lamps. Self-serve frozen yogurt shops allow for greater customization and a “fun” interactive experience. Frozen yogurt has become more focused on the customer experience.

What is National Frozen Yogurt Day? When is it?

National food holidays are typically created officially by Congressional legislation or by presidential proclamation or unofficially (e.g., a company or organization declares a food holiday). The United States celebrates National Frozen Yogurt Day twice a year. The official dates for NFYD are disputed but February 6 is the date that most (e.g., foodreference.com) seem to agree upon. Its origins are obscure. It does not appear that National Frozen Yogurt Day was created by Congressional legislation or by presidential proclamation.

In 1993, TCBY declared June as National Frozen Yogurt Month, the first week of June as National Frozen Yogurt Week and the first Sunday (“Sundae”) of June as National Frozen Yogurt Day.

What is International Frozen Yogurt Day? When is it?

While the U.S. has a frozen yogurt month, two frozen yogurt days, and a frozen yogurt week, the rest of the world did not have a frozen yogurt holiday to call its own. In recognition of the global popularity of frozen yogurt, IFYA declared that February 6th should be designated as International Frozen Yogurt Day. The day was created to celebrate and appreciate frozen yogurt with all frozen yogurt fans, regardless of their country of residence.

What’s the difference between frozen yogurt made with powder vs. liquid mix?

Liquid frozen yogurt mixes have a shorter shelf life, require freezer space, and are thought to produce a creamier consistency. Liquid mix generally has more live and active cultures than powdered mix. It takes 1-2 days for the frozen mix to thaw. Once defrosted, the liquid mix has a shelf life of 14 days when kept refrigerated.

Powdered mixes are reconstituted with liquids (typically milk or water) when needed. It usually takes 15-20 minutes per batch. The main selling points of powdered mix are speed of preparation and ease of storage.

What is NSA? Is there sugar free frozen yogurt?

No Sugar Added (NSA) frozen yogurt is frozen yogurt with no additional added sugar. It is not sugar free. Frozen yogurt cannot be sugar free because it is made with milk and milk has sugar. NSA frozen yogurt has less sugar than a regular version of frozen yogurt.

What is Kosher frozen yogurt?

In order for frozen yogurt to be considered Kosher, i.e., in accordance with Jewish dietary laws, it must be certified by a Kosher certified organization. The Kosher certified organization checks to make sure that only kosher ingredients and processing are used. The frozen yogurt and toppings can only be certified Kosher in their factory sealed containers.

Pinkberry, Red Mango, Menchie’s, and Tutti Frutti all serve Kosher frozen yogurt. All YoCream products are Kosher certified.

What is low carb frozen yogurt?

Low carbohydrate frozen yogurt was introduced to the market by Good Humor-Breyers in 1984. Low carb frozen yogurt has as little as 4 carbs per half cup compared to 20 – 25 carbs per half cup for regular frozen yogurt. Popular low carb frozen yogurt brands include Only 8, Carbolite, Carb D’Lite and Wow Cow. Menchie’s carries low carb frozen yogurt flavors.

Is frozen yogurt gluten free?

Most flavors of frozen yogurt are gluten free with the possible exception of flavors that contain cookies and cake. All Red Mango flavors are certified gluten free. Pinkberry claims all of its flavors are gluten free. Read Menchie’s labels and look for the gluten free symbol.

I’m lactose intolerant. Should I avoid frozen yogurt?

According to the National Institutes of Health, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the bacterial cultures in yogurt “convert lactose to lactic acid, so the yogurt may be well-tolerated due to a lower lactose content than yogurt without live cultures.” So, if you are mildly lactose intolerant and able to eat refrigerated yogurt, look for frozen yogurt with live and active cultures. For more severe cases of lactose intolerance, opt for sorbet or vegan frozen yogurt.

What are the health benefits of frozen yogurt consumption? What are the benefits of live and active cultures?

Not all frozen yogurt is the same, so the health benefits will vary. Generally speaking, frozen yogurt is a good source of calcium and lower in fat and calories than ice cream. It can contain high amounts of sugar.

Frozen yogurt that contains live and active cultures has additional benefits as described by the National Yogurt Association:

“Researchers around the world are studying the potential attributes of live and active culture yogurt in preventing gastrointestinal infections, boosting the body’s immune system, fighting certain types of cancer and preventing osteoporosis. More research must be done to establish a definitive link between live and active culture yogurt and these health effects, but the results to date are encouraging.” (Source: National Yogurt Association)

What’s the difference between Greek frozen yogurt and Italian frozen yogurt?

The Italians invented gelato and some believe the origins of tart frozen yogurt as we know it today began with the Italians making tart yogurt gelato. Red Mango’s frozen yogurt is said to contain a yogurt base imported from Italy, according to a 2007 New York Times article. Italian style frozen yogurt is known to be lighter in texture and tart in flavor.

Greek yogurt is enjoying a huge surge in popularity at the moment, with Greek yogurt and Greek style yogurt products accounting for 29% of yogurt launches in the US for the 12 months ending in June 2012 and reaching $2 billion a year in sales. Greek frozen yogurt is made with a thicker, strained yogurt, resulting in a frozen yogurt that has more protein, fewer carbs and creamier texture compared to regular frozen yogurt.