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FDA Presents New Nutrition Facts Label for Yogurt

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Source: National Dairy Council, 2016

Source: National Dairy Council, 2016

The FDA is updating how foods must be labeled.

This is huge news for yogurt fans like us. And it's a long time coming.

With all the recent (and rather shocking) attention to sugar, we need a labeling standard that clearly sets out how many grams of sugar in our yogurt come from naturally-occurring lactose and how many grams were added in the manufacturing process. In other words, how much of the sugar in our yogurt do we really need to worry about? The old labels didn't display this information clearly, and confusion therefore abounded.

According to the National Dairy Council, which released the infographic above, the new labels solve this problem explicitly:

"[The] FDA is renaming 'Sugars' to 'Total Sugars' to differentiate the two. 'Total Sugars' includes the sum of naturally occurring sugars (such as lactose) and added sugars. Naturally occurring sugars will NOT be included as 'Added Sugars' on the label.

In addition, the new labels will reflect a per-container (average) serving size of 6-ounces rather than the current 8-ounces. Few yogurts come in 8-ounce sizes these days, so the new labels will better reflect the reality of what we're consuming. The percentage Daily Value (%DV) for nutrients will also be adjusted accordingly.

Click here for the National Dairy Council's full 3-page Yogurt Food Label infographic. It's worth spending a few minutes understanding the label here before you start seeing it on yogurts in the grocery store. Larger companies have until July, 2018 to comply; smaller companies have until July, 2019.

We at Team Yogurt applaud -- and welcome -- this long-awaited food labeling change.

Sneezy? | Eat Yogurt?

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A recent study out of Vanderbilt University's School of Medicine synthesized and evaluated a number of randomized controlled trials to review the relationship between probiotics and the effects of hay fever, or allergic rhinitis. 

The conclusion? Moderately hopeful, in the sense that some of the studies did show a benefit over a placebo in treating allergy symptoms. (Others, however, did not.)

Additional  studies are needed before more definitive conclusions can reasonably be drawn.

("Probiotics may be beneficial in improving symptoms and quality of life in patients with allergic rhinitis; however, current evidence remains limited due to study heterogeneity and variable outcome measures. Additional high-quality studies are needed to establish appropriate recommendations.")

Here's the abstract on PubMed.

How the World Likes Its Yogurt

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Alexandra Sifferlin, Time Magazine, Feb. 20, 2015:

"Any trip down the yogurt aisle makes it all too clear—yogurt is having a moment. Greek yogurt alone soared from 4% of the U.S. yogurt market in 2008 to 52% in 2014. But Greek isn’t the only yogurt game globally. A new report reveals that how (and when) people like their yogurt varies greatly from country to country:

Of particular interest: In China, most people drink their yogurt.  Only 11% eat it by spoon." [more]

Here's a graphic from the report:

General Mills exposes illegal yogurt price-fixing in France

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Associated Press, March 13, 2015:

"A ruling Thursday by France's competition authority makes for rich reading, detailing a web of secret meetings, hand-written charts and phone exchanges over six years to fix prices on many of the yogurt-related goods on French supermarket shelves.

Eleven companies were hit with 192 million euros ($203 million) in fines for the cartel, including Yoplait and Lactalis and makers of most of the store-brand yogurt sold around France..." [more]

Yoplait cuts sugar.

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Looks like Yoplait has been paying attention to consumers' demand for less sugar in their food. 

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Yoplait, owned by General Mills, has announced a 25% reduction in the sugar content of Yoplait original.

Watch out, though. Star Tribune reporter Mike Hughlett writes:

"General Mills acknowledges the reformulated product has a taste and mouthfeel that’s different from the former version. It’s a bit thicker, with more of a dairy flavor."

Dairy flavor. In other words, yogurt that tastes like milk...?

Breakfast is changing.

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"As Kellogg's sales have dropped, Chobani's have skyrocketed to nearly $1bn a year." ~from On Point with Tom Ashbrook

Does this ring true for you?

I'm the primary grocery shopper in my household, and the amount of cereal I purchase has shifted rather drastically from a few boxes per week to a few boxes per month. Cereal has become the default Friday morning option -- the food I plunk on the table when the week's almost up and my creativity's plunged to nil. Sure, my kids still leave a trail of dry cereal crumbs all over the pantry drawer, opting to nibble it for a snack or to combat homework boredom, but the bowl-of-cereal-as-default-breakfast has become a thing of our family's past.

Around here, we're eating more yogurt, more avocado toast, more eggs, more fruit.

For us, cereal has competition.

And it doesn't always win.