The delicious competitors: Chobani, Voskos, Yoplait, Fage Total 2%, Fage Total 0%, Liberté
So I was at my local ShopRite the other day walking down the dairy aisle when I thought it might be fun to run through a few different strawberry Greek yogurts in a sort of taste test. I went with Chobani, Voskos, Yoplait, Liberté, and both the 0% and 2% varieties of Fage (which I recently learned was pronounced fa-yeh… I was way off on that one LOL). The only brands available at the store that I didn’t pick up were Oikos and ShopRite’s own store brand. No particular reason for this… I guess I just didn’t feel like having more than six cups of yogurt in a day.
Of the six yogurts I tried, I only found one to be unappealing enough to never eat again. On the other hand, I was also pleasantly surprised by the broadly appealing flavor of another. It was a lot of yogurt to eat in one day, though… ended up skipping out yesterday to hopefully rebalance myself.
Voskos offers one of the only blended Greek yogurts on the market. I’m not a huge fan of blended yogurts myself — my typical plan of attack with most yogurts is to stir up the fruit from the bottom only a few times so I can experience that heavenly contrast of sweet fruit on a tangy yogurt backdrop in every bite.
That said, I didn’t hate Voskos’ Wild Strawberry. The sourness of the base yogurt was pretty strong, and unlike with the typical fruit-on-the-bottom varieties there wasn’t a whole lot of sweetness to the strawberry component to offset that tang. However, the overall resulting flavor wasn’t bad at all, and in fact would probably be quite compatible with palates more tuned towards the tart end of the yogurt spectrum.
I wouldn’t mind some Voskos now and again.
I would, however, mind eating another serving of Yoplait’s Greek yogurt. I couldn’t find anything I liked about it whether it was the peculiar kind-of-yet-not-really sweet note that overlaid the plain yogurt itself or the intensely artificial flavor and sticky thickness of the strawberry syrup that reminded me of some sort of candy that I vaguely remember not enjoying as a kid.
I thought that blending the two more than I normally would with other brands might help the situation, but somehow it made the yogurt taste even worse. It was all I could do to finish the cup before downing a tall glass of water to wash the bad memories away.
Fage Total 0%
After that previous experience it was nice to come back to something I was a bit more familiar with. Fage Total 0% Strawberry was one of the first Greek yogurts I had ever tried so I pretty much knew going in what to expect.
The yogurt is quite smooth with a pretty creamy texture and has a fairly acidic tang — the best way I can think of to describe it is to say that the sourness tips its toe gently on the salty side of the taste boundaries and teases a visit to bitter territory without ever quite making it over.
The strawberry topping resides in a smaller compartment off to the side which can be “flipped” over to theoretically dump its contents into the yogurt — practically, however, it just makes it a little easier to try to spoon the stuff out. I believe Fage was the first of the Greek yogurt brands to offer this sort of packaging, and it must have taken off because Chobani offers a line of products that utilize a similar concept.
There are some small pieces of strawberry in there, but the mix-in is primarily made up of a thick syrup of sorts that’s reminiscent of jelly or compote. While Yoplait’s seems more like the low rent stuff you might get out of a plastic squeeze bottle, this is better enough quality that you could imagine it at least comes in a glass jar and sits pretty in the peanut butter and jelly aisle rather than the ice cream toppings shelf in the frozen foods section.
When the two components are combined, the tartness of the yogurt and the sweetness of the strawberry topping do a decent job of masking what I consider to be the less appealing aspects of each flavor resulting in a taste experience that isn’t half bad. I couldn’t eat the yogurt plain — although I do have acquaintances that swear by the stuff — but with the strawberry mixed in I could certainly enjoy this as an occasional diversion.
Fage Total 2%
I decided to have Fage’s 0% and 2% yogurts at the same time so I could more accurately compare them. I couldn’t actually detect any difference between the two as far as the tastes of the yogurt or the strawberry topping were concerned. The 2% yogurt was, however, slightly creamier and richer resulting in what I suppose is a somewhat improved yogurt eating experience. Nonetheless, the variations were not significant enough that I would go out of my way to try to get one variety over the other, and I guess that this would make it easier for those concerned about fat intake to go with the 0% option since there isn’t much of a sacrifice there.
I think Liberté is a relatively new brand of Greek yogurt at least in the mainstream retail market. I see potential for some serious growth — I think their product is more accessible to consumers who might otherwise be turned off by a high level of tartness since their base yogurt has a significantly milder tang than most Greek yogurts. I also like that the strawberry inclusion doesn’t have that artificial looking bright red color but rather a duller, more subdued hue that implies a more natural and “real” substance. The two flavor aspects work together very well to produce a mildly sweet taste experience that could be mistaken as a dessert rather than a healthy breakfast: indeed, the resulting flavor and consistency is not too far off from a soft strawberry cheesecake.
As tasty as Liberté was, Chobani still reigns at number one atop my list of favorite Greek yogurts. It has enough tartness that it still tastes like a yogurt without being so sharp as to become overpowering. Similarly the strawberry filling is sweet enough to make a delicious complement to the yogurt’s tang and notably not artificially sweet to the point of introducing a saccharine veil over the inherent yogurt flavor: no wagon red tinge in this product! Finally, the texture provides a more natural and “raw” mouthfeel complete with clumps and inconsistencies as opposed to the often overly smooth texture of some other yogurts.
These different qualities add up to what I personally think is the overall best yogurt eating experience offered on the market today. Sometimes the most popular thing isn’t the best, but in this case I think of all the Greek yogurt brands Chobani is most deserving of the public’s adulation.