4 Reasons Chobani’s 100-Calorie Yogurts Are a Bad Choice

Chobani Simply 100 Strawberry

Chobani is a name synonymous with Greek Yogurt. The company took the yogurt category by storm less than 10 years ago and since then has had a positive impact on consumption in America. The US is still woefully behind Europe, but today more Americans than ever are consuming yogurt.

Chobani is trying to diversify its product portfolio and maintain growth, but could it have become too big for its own good? Chobani recently launched a new 100-calorie yogurt line, called “Simply 100” aimed at dieters. Short of saving humanity, this product supposedly has it all:

Only Natural Ingredients • Good Source of Bone Building Calcium • No Artificial Flavors • Excellent Source of Fiber • Excellent Source of Protein • No Artificial Sweeteners • No Preservatives • Made With Milk from Cows Not Treated with rBST* • Includes Live & Active Cultures • 3 Types of Probiotics • Gluten Free • Safe for People with Corn, Nut and Soy Allergies • Kosher Certified • Vegetarian Friendly • Less than 5% Lactose • Nothing But Good

Before we go into the details, we’d like to get something off our chest: We hate-100 calorie products. They suck because the manufacturer has to either shrink the serving size or to use artificial sweeteners, fillers, or whatnot. All of this effort to reach some arbitrary magic number for dieters.

Now back to Chobani. Its standard Greek yogurt has 140 calories. Since Greek means strained yogurt, it is also high in protein and therefore a very filling snack. So you don’t really need to worry about the calories because it will keep you satiated nicely.

Now let’s take a look at what Chobani’s “Simply 100″ is offering:

1. SIZE CHEAT. The first thing you may notice is the smaller serving size. Instead of a 6-ounce cup, the Simply 100 pack has only 5.3 ounces (13% less yogurt). If the original Chobani was this small, it would have 120 calories.

UPDATE: Chobani’s original yogurt is also 5.3 ounces. It used to be 6 ounces, but has since shrunk…

2. UNNATURAL SWEETENERS. Here is the Simply 100 ingredient list (Strawberry flavor):

Nonfat Yogurt (Cultured Pasteurized Nonfat Milk, Live and Active Cultures: S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus and L. Casei), Chicory Root Fiber, Water, Strawberries, Natural Flavors, Evaporated Cane Juice, Strawberry Puree, Pectin, Locust Bean Gum, Fruit and Vegetable Juice Concentrate (For Color), Monkfruit Extract, Stevia Leaf Extract.

In order to reduce calories, Chobani decreased the sugar content from 19 grams to 7 grams. The 12 grams is equivalent almost 50 calories. This seems like a nice savings until you realize that stevia and monk fruit extract have been added. While these sweeteners may be extracted from natural sources, they go through a significantly unnatural extraction process that includes many chemicals. Claiming “only natural ingredients” is a wild stretch. Why not simple reduce the overall sweetness of the product? One of the biggest challenges dieters have is their sweet tooth. Why keep catering to it with an overly sweet yogurt?

3. FAKE FIBER. Yogurt is not a source of fiber. And it shouldn’t be. It stands up well on its own with protein, calcium, and other nutrients. But in order to make this product even more appealing to dieters, Chobani added 5 grams of inulin, a type of fiber that comes from chicory roots. There is more inulin here than strawberry! While technically natural, nobody can consume so much inulin from a chicory root at one sitting. Our gut requires many different types of fiber in order to properly function.  Manufacturers are all adding inulin because it is cheap and easy to add to foods. This is not a tactic we would expect a company like Chobani to adopt.

4. FOOD COLORING. Since such a small amount of strawberry is used, Chobani is compelled to add some red into the mix. True, it is using natural colorings, but it implies that there is more fruit in the yogurt than there truly is.

Bottom line
For its Simply 100 product line, Chobani has copied the playbook of several of its largest competitors. These little tricks played on consumers will end up tarnishing its image as a pro consumer and pro health brand.

What to do at the supermarket
Stick with plain, unflavored yogurt. Add your own strawberry. Be healthy.

To see if your favorite yogurt makes the grade, download the free fooducate app (Android, iPhone).

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  • lem964

    I agree 1000 percent….so many people think of these types of foods as “health” foods….they are really desserts!

  • Austin

    Just get plain, nonfat, and add your own fruit or granola to it.

  • JayB

    This seems like a over reaction with a tinge of discrimination…youre going to go after Chobani? They mightve disappointed you with their 100 calorie product but theres no need to bash them. Seems needless when there are countless other products that have come before theirs. Wheres the report on Yoplait or Dannon? With their corn starch and aspartame? I will glady choose stevia over that.

    • http://www.fooducate.com/ Fooducate

      Calm down and have some plain yogurt. We’ve written about the others as well. Multiple times.

      • nObdy

        You do realize that they shrunk the cup size to go up against Dannon Greek yogurt. The Foodservice industry uses a 5.3 instead of a 6. Also, it seems the only reason you came out with this article is because you “hate 100 calorie products”….surely there is something else you can target.

      • West

        Not sure if that’s how I would have addressed someone that raises questions about your article.

        In my opinion That was just short of saying

        “Shut up, this is my article, I’m gonna say what I want. So calm down and get over it”

        But don’t mind me. I’ll just sit in my corner and eat my Chobani.

      • Vanessa

        Dont be rude

      • Dana

        Seemed like a very strong reaction to a reader’s simple comment. I’m sorry, but you out lashing at someone who questioned your article just ruined the article for me. It makes you seem overly biased and therefore how do we know we can trust an article based on a biased source? Besides, they made a fantastic point, so what if it’s less calories mostly due to a smaller serving size? Aren’t we known for having our portion sizes too big anyways? And also, I too would gladly choose stevia over aspartame ANY. DAY.

    • CatP

      This article was exactly what I was looking for.

      I reluctantly purchased a 100 calorie container because it was all that was available at my grocery store. I scanned the ingredients quickly to see if anything jumped out at me, but at the time was juggling a full cart with my child on crutches and didn’t see anything alarming so I made my purchase. Now at home, I just opened one up and could immediately taste the difference, I went online to see if they added sweeteners in order to get to the 100 calories and found what I needed here in this article. I had hoped that the 100 calories was achieved by just reducing the container size and that the recipe wasn’t changed. Not so much luck.

      What you might not find valuable in this article was what I needed to answer my question. It’s comments like this that really anger me, just because you don’t value this information, doesn’t mean that everyone views it the same way.

  • http://www.absoluteentrainment.com Fistuk

    Although I agree with this article, you seem to have left out the worst bit. The first ingredient is milk – inorganic, pasteurized, homogenized milk.

  • Marco

    The word “natural” actually isnt recognized by the FDA. There are no guidelines for the usage of the word. Mcdonalds could call their food “all natural” and nobody would have any legal grounds to argue. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_foods )

    So yeah, this chobani yogurt uses “all natural ingredients”

    • EVIL food scientist

      Yeah but…
      The FDA is getting pretty comfortable in swinging their big bat of “false and misleading” when it comes to the issue of “natural”.

      They won’t tell you what natural IS, but they have said what it’s NOT more than once. “synthetically derived” is one of the main no-no’s.

      Go to the FDA’s website and look up warning letters for “natural” and “all natural” and you’ll see a ton of stuff where they told manufacturers “stop it”

  • http://www.healthy-lifestyle-trainer.com/ Mike Luque

    Great point about the sweetness of yogurt. Just reduce it. I make my own yogurt and never add any sweetener, even when I make vanilla yogurt. There’s no need.

  • Donnie

    Or you can just get the regular Chobani yogurts..

  • overseaschinese

    As long as we continue to consume processed ready-made food, we will continue to see food additives (of various sorts, including colouring and sweeteners) to be added into the product. You’ll soon realise not only do most consumers are willing to accept it (for various reasons), but also the manufacturing stress on foodstuff requires manufacturers to use these food additives. It’s inevitable.

    What would be helpful is when we go back to those days wherein we cook and prepare our own food.

  • Carlos Cespedes

    Whole Foods decided to dump Chobani because the cows are fed GMO. Lots of folks are disappointed that Chobani won’t make the change. “All Natural”? Give me a break. No Chobani allowed in my home. Say NO to GMO.

    • Dave Alexander

      Actually, whole foods retracted that statement (since over half their store contains GMO products) and stated it they were dropping Chobani bc they wouldn’t make special flavors for Whole Foods. Funny how the media only focuses on the negative stories and nobody takes time to follow up on the negativity.

  • SweetMarisa12

    I agree completely with this article. I just recently stopped eating Chobani’s yogurt. Besides, plain Greek yogurt with granola in it tastes better anyway :)

  • Bag5040

    Chobani Simply 100 is very good product. Natural can be debated, but no artificial sweeteners, that’s what I want. Lower calories and lower sugar, yes that’s what I want. All the other low calorie yogurts have artificial sweetener. You also blog negatively about Chicory Root Fiber. Well that product has helped me lose 40 pounds with only positive health benefits like healthy digestion. 5 grams of soluble fiber is not much as most days I consume 20 grams. If someone has low fiber intake, any addition of any fiber could cause minor gas and bloating until their body get used to a better intake of fiber. Most people need more fiber in their diet, both soluble and insoluble fiber. There are many products to “attack” Chobani Simply 100 is not one of them.

  • John P

    Did you even taste this wonderful product? Maybe you are critiquing the label with out tasting it. I can’t find it in all the stores yet, and definitely did not see it before Christmas when you wrote this.
    But you are wrong about the sweeteners and the fiber comments.
    1. This product is in fact “less sweet tasting” than Yoplait or Dannon 100 cal. versions, mildly sweet, none of the tart, fake sugar taste, and I don’t want any of that artificial chemically made, disease causing sweetener product in my house.
    The bigger companies add GMO corn starch, thickeners, gelatin. GMO additives! Not some catch on secondary feed source on the local milk farmers, which maybe a hard fix for a company their size. I am supportive of local farmers… but know we live in the USA… the GMO corn belt. I am not a dairy farmer, nor know the options they have with economics in mind.
    2. I will gladly accept a naturally sourced fiber in a yogurt product. Read up dude… prebiotic fiber like chicory root, works together with probiotics they add! All good for digestion and immunity. I quickly googled and found science that it increases satiety too.

    • Jacob M

      I actually googled ‘chobani 100 is bad’ and found this article precisely because I cannot stand tasting anything artificially sweet and this product was immediately disappointing to me. I didn’t even realize I’d purchased the 100 calorie variety until I’d tasted it and had to check the label. Whether its the stevia extract or the monkfruit extract doesnt concern me much.. anything but natural sugars taste horrible to me. I wouldnt compare this product to Dannon or Yoplait because I think those taste bad too. Thankfully a lot of other options are hitting the market.

      • jen

        I agree, I had the same problem. I didn’t realize I bought the 100 calorie kind until I started to eat it. I couldn’t even taste the cherries over the “natural sweeteners” I couldn’t get the horrible taste out of my mouth. Will not be buying that again. I am very disappointed as this was one of my favorite yogurts.

      • Ali

        Yes!! I also googled “Chobani 100″ after taking about 3 bites of mine and couldn’t stand to take a 4th. This stuff tastes so artificial and I can’t get the taste out of my mouth. I will absolutely not be buying it again, and Chobani has been my favorite brand for years. Yuck.

  • dajo585

    Let’s face it, all Chobani really cares about is their bottom line. But, if Chobani customers are anything like me – and it seems that some who have already posted are – they’re going to be losing a lot of us. I agree that its absurd to sacrifice a few calories to reach a random number that makes dieters feel better about themselves. I care as much about the Calories that I consume as the next guy, but I’d take 40 calories and a larger serving size over chemically produced, disgusting tasting, fake sugar any day.

    • R Charter

      I more often just buy the regular Chobani. But the “100 Calorie” number is pretty magical for people. I remember when “100 calorie” cookie and cheez-it packs came out. I would buy them thinking that “well, its only 100 calories” but I would end up eating 10 of the packs. I think “100 Calorie” items do less for dieters than just trying to learn to control portions.

  • m smith

    very disappointed in the chobani
    100 it has an after taste i quess due to the stevia i did not see tha t in the ingrediants i. was looking for a smaller portion though. lost me now will only buy plain yogurt very dis appointed after taste so bad will take a while before buying any chobane,. had a good thing but ruined it.

  • tkell31

    Thanks! I was wondering where the fiber came from and why only this brand. So why shouldn’t yogurt be a source of fiber? Is 5g of inulin a day too much? If not I really don’t get your point about that.

  • Mar

    I came looking for information about what the industry was saying about this change. I used to love Chobani yogurt, but the 100-calorie portions took me by surprise. They taste horrible to me. I think it’s the stevia. Whatever the justification, I won’t be eating any of the 100-cal versions.

  • politackler

    I picked up a container of Chobani yogurt the other day at the supermarket, where it was on sale. I saw the “all-natural ingredients” on it and either couldn’t or didn’t bother to read all the way to the end of the ingredients. Had I noticed that it was sweetened with Stevia (which I have tried and discovered does NOT agree with me) I never would have bought it. I though I detected a slightly artificial taste when I was eating it but still didn’t notice anything amiss. Last night I got severe diarhhea, which prompted me to reread the ingredients. I discovered, thanks to a magnifying glass, the presence of Stevia in the yogurt. I agree with you that a manufacturer of such a product should not be allowed to hide behind a self-appropriated “all natural” label, leaving people like myself who cannot tolerate artificial sweeteners of any sort–including Stevia–to suffer when they inadvertently ingest it. .

  • Ryan A.

    An absolutely unequivocal overreaction on the part of the author. Calling them a “bad choice” because it has chicory root? Sure, yogurt is not supposed to be a major source of fiber, but chicory root is NOT bad for you (even as its fiber merits are suspect) — that does not, repeat NOT, make Chobani 100 a “bad choice”. It merely means that one should realise that the 5g of fiber shouldn’t be viewed as “wow, awesome source of fiber!”

    Likewise… because it has natural food colouring in the form of juice concentrate, you’re going to claim that Chobani 100 is a “bad choice”? Come on, dude. Again, nobody expects a yogurt to be some equivalent of 2 servings of fruit or anything, but to claim that natural colour is “misleading” and therefore the all-natural product is a “bad choice”…. that’s just seriously misguided.

    Put it this way — your claim that Chobani 100 is a “bad choice” for those reasons you list…. is far more misleading and inaccurate than any of Chobani’s aspects.

    The only thing with which I’ll agree is the 5.3 oz instead of 6 oz trick. As you note, even the regular Chobani is 5.3 oz. If you want to slam Chobani for this trickery, fantastic…. but again, that makes Chobani 100 a bit less of a financial bargain, not a “bad choice” as an actual food.

    You really ought to re-consider this article of yours.