LOW fat, no fat, full fat, organic, bio, Greek style — the new wave of yogurt takes a bit of surfing. And then there is the ocean of bacteria that turn milk into yogurt to consider.
The choice of bacteria is often governed by the amount of fat in the type of yogurt to balance taste. There can be quite a chalky taste in strained Greek yogurt and various other low- and fat-free versions which have a desirable higher protein content. The lactic cultures can also provide the tangy flavour which consumers love or hate, more noticeable in plain varieties.
Watch cartons not labelled by culture type or by ‘live cultures’, as in order to prolong shelf life, those without these living organisms may be pasteurised after the yogurt has been made, killing the live cultures and their benefits. All milk used in yogurt sold in shops is pasteurised first so that there is no danger of bugs.
Natural fruit and milk sugars in yogurt are included in the sugars content on labels. Too much added sugar can upset the digestive balance as well as create bad habits, so watch for added sugar. Yogurt may be easier to digest than plain milk, and for those on antibiotics, a yogurt a day will help restore gut balance, but seek out live cultures. We had an even Top 3 of favourites in this tasting of strawberry yogurts.
Glenilen Farm 160g €1
With the commendably short list of ingredients – 75% natural yogurt made with live cultures, a decent 20% strawberry, with added sugar amounting to 11.3% sugars. Saturated fats low at 1.8%. The large pots of this brand are even better value (€1.75 for 500g). Tasters loved the natural, generous fruit flavour with good balance of sweet and creamy. With 70% of yogurts still imported, this is a perfect example of ‘delicious and Irish’.
Killowen Farm 135g 69c
Live cultures here with 100% of the milk from the Dunne family farm in Co Wexford. Added milk powder provides protein and a creamy mouthfeel, and is not from the farm. 8% strawberry mixture which has added sugar brings sugars to a moderate 9.6%. Saturated fats at 2.2% are fine (the layered version, as with other brands, is 1% higher and even creamier). With no tang and fresh and delicious, this yogurt will convert the wary. A very good Irish product.
Danone Activia 4 x125g €2.59
Named cultures here sound impressive, so at least we know the yogurt is ‘live’. Low enough saturated fats in this full-fat version are 2.3%, sugars at 13% includes added sugar with 8% strawberry. Modified maize starch and carrageenan gives it a slightly gloopy texture less favoured by tasters.
Aldi Specially Selected West Cork 4 x 125g €1.89
With 51% yogurt, the rest comprises cream, 24% strawberry sauce which has glucose, sugar syrup and various stabilisers. A custard mix made from cream and more sugar brings sugars to a high 14%. Saturated fats here are high too at 5.9% from 11% cream so a luxury treat product as are many of the layered versions of other brands. But they are also delicious and appealed to tasters.
Glenisk low-fat organic 450g €1.99
This brand has many delicious yogurts with different levels of fat and even one with no added sugar for kids. Tasters were very happy with the flavour of this large tub and with low 1.5% saturated fats achieved with semi-skimmed milk. Under fives are better with full fat, while the scientific debate continues about low-fat products for adults. Strawberry content at 8% tastes higher, with sugars at 13% including some added sugar. Organic ingredients are a plus.
Tesco Finest Senga Strawberry 150g 45c
This single pot has 18% fruit mixed throughout the yogurt and all tasters liked the level of sweetness. Senga is a Nordic variety which is low in acidity and has good colour. Sugars at 14.3% are high — added sugar is third on the list of ingredients. Saturated fats are 5.1%. While the strawberry addition is high, it’s not very strong, perhaps the modified maize starch and carrageenan as stabiliser dilute the flavour. Well made in West Cork.
Yoplait 125g x4 €2.48
Various types of skimmed milk provide a light texture. 10.8% strawberry is in the form of pieces as well as liquidised into the yogurt. Live cultures are listed, along with a few acidity regulators and stablisers which give it a slightly gloopy texture. 9% added sugar brings total sugars to 12.6%. Saturated fats are a low 1.7%. Nothing spectacular here and liked more by the six-year-old taster.
Marks & Spencer West Country Luxury 150g €1.30
A decent 20% of Elsanta (a small, sweet type) strawberries gives this yogurt a lively, fresh taste. There is also 11% cream, bringing saturated fats up to 4.3% and giving a silky texture. Children and adults liked this one as it wasn’t too sweet, despite the high 10% sugars. Live cultures are not listed, but when questioned, M&S told us the yogurt is not pasteurised after manufacturing and live cultures are present.
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