Things that amuse me – Yogurt Labeling

One of the many aspects I love when it comes to writing about food is to point out the little games that many of the national food producers pull. Sometimes the games have major consequences, other times not so much.

In reviewing various yogurt products, I found myself reviewing a container of Dannon’s Lite + Fit brand when I noticed a bit of labeling that caught my interest. It read (and I’m paraphrasing a bit here):

“This product Meets the National Yogurt Association’s requirements for live and active cultures.”

Now if you’re a consumer looking for a distinction between higher quality yogurts with health benefits versus a lower quality yogurt, this sounds rather impressive. After all, the National Yogurt Association has allowed Dannon to use their name on their labeling.

When one is at the supermarket, one doesn’t have quick and ready access to the internet which would allow one to research just who the heck is the National Yogurt Association. By the time one comes home with the groceries, one has probably forgotten or has lost interest in following up on this Association.

As I am a bit of a freak and have a finely honed sense of cynicism, I have no problem in following up on these tidbits of information.

The National Yogurt Association consists of five members. Right smack at the top of the list? Dannon Yogurt. In fact, on the National Yogurt Association’s Board of Directors sits two co-chairs…one from Dannon, the other from General Mills (maker of Yoplait yogurts). When Dannon says its yogurt meets requirements set by the National Yogurt Association, what Dannon really means is that Dannon’s yogurt meets requirements set by Dannon and Yoplait.

Depending on your perspective, this may not seem like a big deal. But it’s clear that the National Yogurt Association isn’t as independant as one might initially think upon reading Dannon’s label.

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