Yoplait Yogurt Versus Dannon Yogurt

If Yoplait yogurt advertising positions the product as part of a weight loss diet (yes, we’ve all seen the Yoplait bikini advertising), then what’s up with the calorie content and the high fructose corn syrup?

I’ve decided to share the following letter that I wrote with my readers. I tried to send this to Yoplait, but their website contact form would not work. I tried three times and received an error message every time – talk about consumer frustration. Luckily, I had written the letter first in Word so the material was not lost.

Should anyone from Yoplait (or its parent company General Mills) care to respond, I will be glad to post the response on the website here as well.

Hello,

Up until about ten years ago, I was a big fan Yoplait. I ate two containers of Yoplait yogurt every day. I finally had to switch to other brands when the price continued to rise and could no longer be justified against both store brands and other name brands.

I went to the grocery store tonight and saw Yoplait on the shelf for almost half off. I also noticed the advertising on the container saying it had 1/3 fewer calories than “regular lowfat yogurts” and it was advertised as light and fat free.

Recalling my fondness for the product in the past, I purchased 22 containers in various flavors.

Apparently, I should have read the back of the label carefully before trusting the advertising on the front! When I got home and put the containers in the refrigerator, I compared the nutrition information to a Dannon container. Both brands were 6 ounce containers.

The Dannon yogurt has only 60 calories as compared to Yoplait’s 100 or 110 depending on the flavors I checked. The Dannon has 7 grams of sugar compared to Yoplait’s 14. The Yoplait has high fructose corn syrup which Dannon does not.

Here are my questions:

1) Why is Yoplait putting high fructose corn syrup in a product that is advertised (outright or implied) as a diet, weight loss, and health food?

2) How can this be labeled as having 1/3 fewer calories than “regular lowfat yogurts?” What is a “regular” lowfat yogurt? Apparently, the trick here is that Yoplait is comparing their non-fat yogurt to lowfat yogurt instead of comparing one nonfat yogurt to another nonfat yogurt. Any nonfat product should have fewer calories than a similar product with fat in it. That’s hardly worthy of advertising.

3) Regardless of the answer to number 2, why does Yoplait’s nonfat yogurt have almost twice as many calories as Dannon’s nonfat yogurt?

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Update: This entry still proves to be one of the most popular blog entries on this site. It’s great to see that so many people are concerned about making healthy choices when it comes to choosing yogurt without high fructose corn syrup. I hope the information here helps people decide the best yogurt choices for them and also encourages people to take action by contacting companies about manufacturing food without high fructose corn syrup in everything.

I have a good test when it comes to food ingredients. When you pick up an item and read the nutrition label, just imagine that you are preparing adn cooking that same item at home. Would you use the same ingredients at making the meal from scratch as the manufacturer added into the food? For example, when following a recipe in your own kitchen, when was the last time you reached for high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils?

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