| Sunday May 29th 2016

How Did Greek Yogurt Get So Popular?

ChobaniAmerican tastes are too complex to diagnose conclusively, but analysts think the ascendance of Greek yogurt is a case of conspicuous consumption (literally) led by women in the workplace. One theory holds that rich old women in affluent coastal cities are leading the trend that’s making Greek yogurt an aspirational product — So foreign! So classy! — even if the health benefits are dubious:

The rise of Greek yogurt in the U.S. reflects a larger change in the American culinary consciousness: a desire for foods that are considered purer, simpler, and more natural–in other words, not yogurts purporting to taste like key lime pie or strawberry cheesecake.

I want to suggest another idea. The opposite idea. Perhaps people are buying Greek yogurt, not despite the fact that it’s expensive compared to yogurts, but because it’s cheap compared to similarly filling foods. The taste of Greek yogurt is thick, like scooping avocado out of its skin. Sometimes I eat it for breakfast. I couldn’t eat fruit-on-the-bottom Dannon yogurt for breakfast, because that stuff can have the consistency of melted ice cream and after I eat a cup, I feel like I’ve had a big glass of water, not a snack.


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