Trend Alert: Yogurt That Is Savory, Not Sweet
Here in the U.S. of A., we think of yogurt as a sweet treat. That’s apparently by design. Back in the 1940s, a European immigrant named Daniel Carasso, a member of the family that founded Dannon, added fruity jam to the bottom of tangy, tart fermented milk to make it more appealing to us sugar-loving Americans, NPR’s The Salt blog reports.
Nowadays, we enjoy yogurt all sorts of ways — in a cup, a cone or a tube you can squeeze, in flavors familiar or far-fetched — but one way we’ve rarely eaten it is … salty. That may be about to change.
According to The Salt (ha!), savory is the latest trend in yogurt. But while it may seem new to those who usually favor French Vanilla, Strawberry, Key Lime Pie or whatever, savory is the way much of the world has long enjoyed yogurt.
“In most places where the yogurt culture started out — [the] Middle East, India — where yogurt has its longest routes, everybody eats yogurt savory," John Fout, cofounder of New York-based Sohha Savory Yogurt, told the NPR blog. "The thing we're trying to do by putting savory in our name — and saying it doesn't have to be sweet — is to get people eating yogurt in other ways."
Sohha — which sells yogurts flavored with things like sea salt, extra virgin olive oil, thyme, sumac, sesame seeds or toasted pine nuts, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, garlic and onion — is part of a larger movement away from sugary and fruity, and toward something you might enjoy with pita chips.
"While the majority of leading yogurt flavors are sweet, the spread of savory offerings ... may portend the next shift in the category," industry analyst Beth Bloom told The Salt, noting that savory yogurt options have climbed from 4 percent of the market to 9 percent in the past year. “There has been a pretty big jump in yogurt products claiming to be lower [or no] sugar,” she said.