Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Greek Yogurt Review

Greek YogurtSo delicious with honey and fruit, perfect for breakfast or dessert

A few weeks ago, Kristina of Stonyfield Farms asked me to review their new organic Greek Yogurt, Oikos. It’s hard to review a product I knew I would like without even trying it, so to give it a fair shake, I compared it with some other Greek yogurts on the market, in particular the much raved about Fage brand.

Greek yogurt is amazing. It’s as thick as sour cream and wonderfully creamy without weird additives like xantham gum and pectin that plague regular yogurt. Greek yogurt has all sorts of great things going for it. It’s high in protein, calcium, and has probiotic cultures that aid digestion. Even the nonfat yogurts are made with just dairy and cultures (make sure to check the ingredient list) unlike nonfat sour cream, which also has a bunch of added gunk.

Oikos isn’t carried by my local Safeway but I was able to find it at another local grocery store, QFC (for Seattleites, I'm sure PCC and Metropolitan Market also carries it). This stuff is seriously expensive! A 5.3 oz. container is around $2 and the 16 oz. container is $5 and I think that was the sale price (I can’t remember the regular price). Without the coupons I received to review the yogurt, I would never buy the 5.3 oz. because I’m a poor student. I might occasionally treat myself to a 16 oz. container because it’s a better deal but that seems very unlikely at $5 a tub.

Although I couldn’t find Oikos at Safeway, I did find another brand of Greek yogurt, Voskos. The consistency is the same as the other Greek yogurts I tried. However, it had a strange bitterness that I didn’t encounter with the other yogurts. It is slightly cheaper at $1.79 for an 8oz. container, but I disliked it the bitterness so much, I would not recommend it.

I went to Trader Joes and picked up a small container of Fage and the Trader Joes brand Greek yogurt. Fage was just as I expected, unsurprisingly delicious, creamy and very thick. Fage and Oikos taste very similar. They’re both expensive, with Oikos costing slightly more probably because it's organic. I got the regular Fage yogurt that has 5% milk fat and Oikos has no fat. I’m sure the Fage 0% is just as good. This is a rare instance where a nonfat version tastes just as good as as a full fat variety, without any added ingredients. That’s usually not the case.

Greek Yogurt Review

Nutritional Information for an 8oz. serving
120 calories
0mg cholesterol
95mg sodium (4%)
9g total carbs (0g fiber, 9g sugars)
23g protein
30% calcium

140 calories
15mg (5%) cholesterol
90mg (4%) sodium
9g total carbs (0g fiber, 8g sugars)
24g protein
20% calcium

Fage 0%
120 calories
0mg (0%) cholesterol
85mg (4%) sodium
9g total carbs (0g fiber, 9g sugars)
20g protein
25% calcium

Nutritionally speaking, while all of them look pretty good, Oikos has the highest amount of calcium and the second highest amount of protein behind Voskos but has less calories than Voskos. Because Voskos has that weird bitterness, I would take it out of the running and say Oikos and Fage are equally good. Oikos has an edge because it is organic, but tastewise they’re comparable so choose whichever is suitable for your budget. If you have a Trader Joes closeby, I bet their Greek Yogurt is just as good and much cheaper. I didn’t get a chance to try the Trader Joes Greek yogurt or the local Greek Gods brand Greek yogurt because now I’m sick of yogurt. The TJs one is still sitting in my fridge.

Overall, Oikos has a lot of good things going for it: organic, delicious, and nutritious. The only con is its cost.

Greek yogurt is so thick and creamy that you won’t miss the fat. A nonfat Greek Yogurt would be the perfect substitute for sour cream in recipes. I used it instead of butter and cream for mashed potatoes for a nonfat recipe (might come in handy around the holidays) and it gave it a nice tang. I usually don’t do fat free recipes because I love me some butter and cream but this one turned out pretty well. Just make sure to cool the potatoes a bit before folding in the yogurt or it will curdle.

Fat-Free Mashed Potatoes
1.5 pounds Yukon Gold, peeled and chopped into 2 – 3 inch pieces
Water or chicken stock for boiling
5 oz or roughly 1/2 C of Greek yogurt
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp chopped chives (optional)

Scrub and peel the potatoes. Chop into same size 2 – 3 inch chunks. Add the potatoes to a saucepan and cover with water or chicken stock. Add a clove of garlic, a few sprigs of thyme or a sprig of rosemary if you want. Boil on medium high heat until the potatoes are tender and the pieces are easily pierced with a knife.

Drain the potatoes, reserving about 1 cup of the potato water in a bowl for later. Let the potatoes cool for 10 – 15 minutes. Fold in the yogurt and season with plenty of salt and pepper. If the potatoes are too thick and heavy, add some of the potato water to loosen the mix. Fold in the chives if using and serve warm.


prepschool101 said...

I have looooved Greek yogurt ever since I traveled to Greece and enjoyed it every morning with fruit and honey. I still have it every day but in a shake with acai juice, blueberries and a banana. I like Fage the best. I used it last night in an avocado soup recipe (the pic is up on my site if you want to see!).

Thanks for the detailed nutrition info!

kdrociak said...

Hi Amy,

Thank you for such a thorough and informative review. You're right about Oikos, it is usually more expensive then the other brands and I'd like to clarify why. As you said, Oikos is organic. This is certainly part of why it's more expensive. The local farmers that produce the milk for all of our yogurts receive fair, living wages for all of their hard work. Also, because our Greek yogurt is authentically strained, it uses three times the amount of milk as regular yogurt. Not all "Greek" yogurts are strained in this way, and some just add thickeners.

Anyway, thanks again for the in-depth review. Glad to hear that you enjoyed Oikos!

Take care,
Stonyfield Farm

Elra said...

Amy, I love to serve yogurt with berries like this. It's the best!

Dianna said...

I just discovered Greek yogurt this spring and love it...but, like you, I don't love the price! In addition to Oikos (I love their honey yogurt!) I like Chobani brand(I can only find it at Whole Foods) and Trader Joe's Organic, especially the Vanilla. Sliced strawberries, frozen blueberries and TJ's vanilla yogurt mixed together make a sweet breakfast!

Trish said...

I have never tried Greek yougurt. Am I the only one? But I certainly will look for it now!

Hillary said...

We also reviewed the Oikos organic yogurt. It was a great product! For ideas on what to do with Greek yoghurt, try these mix ins (yes, this article is about Fage but they work the same for Oikos )

Maria said...

Love this yogurt with fresh berries. YUM!

jenncuisine said...

Great photo! I also reviewed the Oikos Greek Yogurt and have to agree about the cost. Being a poor student as well, it is almost prohibitively expensive for me, but will certainly make a nice treat every now and then!

Jennifer said...

I live on Greek yogurt!! hahahah at least twice per day! Amazing stuff not just to eat but even in baking and cooking!

Sheila said...

You didn't try Chobani Greek Yogurt? I think it's spectacular. It's about 1.39 for 6 oz of flavored, non-fat (but higher in sugar) or plain for $1.00. Can't find Fage here in Florida (not even in Whole Foods).

But the bottom line is Greek Yogurt is the BOMB

Sheila said...

You didn't try Chobani Greek Yogurt? I think it's spectacular. It's about 1.39 for 6 oz of flavored, non-fat (but higher in sugar) or plain for $1.00. Can't find Fage here in Florida (not even in Whole Foods).

But the bottom line is Greek Yogurt is the BOMB

Melissa said...

I routinely buy the Trader Joe's brand because it is significantly cheaper ($2.99 in Chicago for the larger container, vs $4.99 for Fage) and just as delicious! It's thick, creamy, and wonderful! I have never tried Oikos because of the cost, and I don't like Chobani nearly as much.

hkydiva said...

Thanks for the review. I'm a huge fan of Fage yogurt so it's interesting to see how it fares among other Greek yogurts out there.

Sarah said...

I love Fage Greek yogurt and I eat it every morning for breakfast. Yes, it is quite expensive, but a carton lasts me about three days. My favorite mix-ins are honey with mangoes, strawberries, raspberries and some homemade granola. I also love mixing in a small spoonful of TJ's lemon curds. So delicious!

Dfenik said...

I love greek yogurt and found a wonderful solution to the high cost. I make my own. I purchased the fage brand and used two tblespoons as my yogurt starter. It is the easiest thing to do. Takes a few minutes and is done in a few hours while you are at work or play. I use the method where you bring milk to boil(watch carefully) let cool luke warm, add yogurt culture and mix, put in a glass jar, close tightly, then put in a cooler filled with hot water for a few hours. Put in fridge and when cold strain in fridge to thicken and remove the whey. It is wonderful and cost much much less than purchasing.


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