In the day and age of healthy diets and healthy lifestyles, yogurt has come to the forefront of the fight against fat. In fact, it is quickly becoming the dessert of choice for many image-conscious consumers and trendy hotspots. I’m not talking about your “fruit-at-the-bottom” or smooth-whipped cups you find in the dairy aisle. I’m talking about frozen yogurt, a.k.a. “froyo”.
In the old days, frozen yogurt meant a sweet dessert, similar to soft-serve ice cream. It was a bit tougher than soft-serve, and it was mainly found only at your local TCBY, which has now gone down the tubes and is just a blip on the frozen confectionary radar. Now, froyo is literally a frozen yogurt: a tart dairy product with a slight hint of sweetness.
The big players that most people associate with froyo are Pinkberry and Red Mango. However, despite the allure these big chains, many places around the US have seen a boom in smaller one-off stores and small franchises picking up on the froyo craze. Back in my college-town of Pittsburgh, a new place called Karmic-Yogurt opened up in May. It was pretty spartan, with just a high-conter bar, minimal standing room, and a tv showing your selections. I assume the business was good, and at least it seems to get better reviews than its rival Sweet Berry of Oakland in the UPitt territory. Anyway, the prices were high, and the actual serving of the yogurt seemed pretty amateurish and not well thought out. But that’s another story.
So now, what’s up with yogurt? Why all of a sudden is America, at least the self-proclaimed trendy and fashion conscious of us, all flocking to this froyo craze? Is it really THAT good? Sure it’s cute and whatever, but paying $5 for a mediocre cup of frozen yogurt and some bits of cut up fruit seems a tad ludicrous. I’d rather spend that money on a ginormous gelati from Rita’s or a huge-ass homemade ice cream from my local shop. Don’t get me wrong; I’ll spend on a cup of froyo from time to time, but I’m not going out of my way to get in line for a Small and One Topping.
My prediction is that most of these froyo places will ultimately collapse from their own self-promoting trendiness and high prices. Only the big franchises will remain, and people will only sometimes grab a cup. The stuff is good, but it’s not mind-blowing. Don’t kid yourself about the “awesomeness” of frozen yogurt because at the end of the day, you just paid a fortune for a squirt of diary product and some bits of pre-cut fruit. If you want a real dessert that’s value for money, do yourself a favor and get a scoop of ice cream.