Chocolate chips, gummy bears and yes, even fruity pebbles. Frozen yogurt is no longer just a single boring flavor on a cone.
The number of yogurt restaurants is steadily increasing as people are beginning to grow quite fond of the appetizing snack.’ In an attempt to mix up the age-old recipe of yogurt, restaurants such as Pinkberry, Red Mango and Yogurt Zone have introduced new flavors of yogurt that are complemented with a variety of toppings ranging from candy pieces to fresh fruit.’
The craze began in the U.S. in January 2005 when Shelly Hwang and Young Lee opened the first Pinkberry in West Hollywood.’ Although Pinkberry is thought by many to be the first of these new-age yogurt places, Red Mango was actually the first store of its kind in South Korea in 2002.’
Other people have recently attempted to mimic the success of these restaurants. Newer places like Yogurt Zone have brought the yogurt phenomenon to The Valley.’
It is commonly joked that the Yogurt Zone in Porter Ranch is full of soccer moms and their kids.’ The yogurt came to be popular with families because of its healthy allure.’ Yogurt Zone advertises that its products are low in fat and sugar, and provide a good source of nutrients through healthy toppings such as fruit and granola.
Some of the yogurt businesses’ success can be attributed to the new-age designs of the stores.’ While visiting the Pinkberry located at the Grove in Los Angeles a customer named Sean Yashar said he liked the store.
‘It’s a nice space.’ They’re all very design-savy spaces, so it feels nice to be in here.” Yashar went on to explain how his experience might be different at a yogurt store where the customers serve themselves, saying, ‘I don’t want to stay there because it’s more hectic.’ It doesn’t feel very luxurious.’
For a lot of people the texture of the yogurt is the most important part.’ Red Mango is said to be the creamiest of the yogurt chains, according to customers who wrote reviews on Yelp.com.’ On the other hand, some people prefer the yogurt to have an icy texture.
Part of what made frozen yogurt so popular again was its ability to adapt to the evolving taste buds of Americans. Frozen yogurt falls into the category of common products that are reinvented through innovative marketing schemes.’ In the case of the yogurt companies, the marketing focused on the healthiness of the product and the restaurant’s modern design.’ ‘ ‘
When comparing the companies, Yogurt Zone differs from Red Mango and Pinkberry in its wider selection of yogurt flavors and toppings.’ Another difference is that Yogurt Zone is a self-serving restaurant as opposed to the employees making yogurt for you.
Currently the self-serve option seems to be pretty popular with most yogurt fans because you can decide for yourself what your portion size will be.
But not everyone prefers the self-serve approach.
‘With the self serve, there’s less interaction and people have more questions.’ It’s easier for us to engage with the customer because they have to go through us to get the yogurt,’ said Jasmine Smith, a Pinkberry employee.
There tend to be a lot of opinions on why certain yogurt companies are better than others. ‘Our yogurt is pretty good, all of our fruit, I know firsthand, is fresh and all of our toppings are not stale,’ said Smith.
Although most people have nothing but positive feedback for Pinkberry, the company did deal with an issue that arose when the California Department of Food and Agriculture claimed that Pinkberry yogurt didn’t contain an adequate amount of bacterial cultures to be considered frozen yogurt.’ This incident can be used to argue that a store like Red Mango, that uses natural ingredients to create their authentic frozen yogurt, isbetter.’ It’s also been said that Red Mango uses too much water in their yogurt.
Ultimately, tastes and opinions will differ, but where Pinkberry and Red Mango are undeniably similar is their yogurt flavor selections.’ Both stores have original, green tea and pomegranate flavored yogurts and for the most part offer the same toppings.
There’s no telling how long this frozen yogurt craze will last, but right now it’s going strong.’ A sweet tooth mixed with the desire to stay healthy will continue to drive business in yogurt stores across the country.