Chobani is a leading Greek Yogurt brand that is becoming more popular these days. We loved it from the first time we tasted it. Slightly tart, like all yogurts, but with a thick and creamy body and texture that wraps around the tongue. We are big fans of plain yogurt. Adding a tiny dollop of honey or date syrup for a sweet treat, or diced tomatoes and chives for a savory snack, this is probably one of the easiest and healthiest fast-foods in our house.
Many consumers must feel the same because the company is growing and expanding its product line. They started out with plain flavors, moved on to fruit added flavors, and now we’ve noticed a kiddie line added to the mix.
Chobani Champions comes in colorful packaging, smaller serving sizes, and kid friendly names – Verryberry, Strawnana, Honeynana, and Chocolate.
Let’s take a look inside the label…
What you need to know:
For starters, the ingredient list:
cultured pasteurized non-fat milk, cream, evaporated cane juice, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, natural flavor, locust bean gum, pectin, fruit and vegetable juice (for color). Contains five live and active cultures including S. thermophilus, L. bulgaricus, L. acidophilus, bifidus, L. casei.
Notice the third ingredient. It’s sugar. The sugar total per serving is 13 grams – just over three teaspoons. Since the serving here is only 4 oz, compared to 6 oz for the regular Chobani yogurt, we’re talking a lot of added sugar for a half cup. About one teaspoonful of sugar can be attributed to the lactose in the yogurt, and 2 teaspoons are added either as sugar or the berries. Since the sugar comes first in the ingredient list, it’s safe to assume that most of the sweetness does not come from the berries.
On the bright side, the colors are from natural sources – fruit and vegetable juices. And it’s got all those funny named bacteria that are good for us.
Sadly, and despite three different berry types that are supposed to be very flavorful, the company has added “natural flavor” to the mix. Couldn’t it come from the berries themselves?
Another unexpected surprise is the use of thickeners such as pectin and locust bean gum to firm up the yogurt. Greek yogurts have less liquid in them and are naturally thick. Perhaps it’s the juice from the berries and the coloring that needs to be gelled.
Nutritionwise, we’re looking at 110 calories and only 2% fat for this tiny portion.
What to do at the supermarket:
Bottom line: Be a kitchen champion. Buy the plain unflavored yogurt and add your own flavor – fresh or frozen berries, a teaspoon of honey, bananas, chocolate chips. Whatever. You’ll get all the goodness of greek yogurt without the food engineering and ingredients required to build the flavored versions.