Walk through any food hall, and you’ll find it hard to miss the frozen-yoghurt stands. This dairy dessert has recently become a popular ‘healthy’ snack — but what’s in it? And how is it made?
You can buy frozen yoghurt in tubs at supermarkets and as soft serve from machines in frozen-yoghurt outlets.
Whipped frozen yoghurt is made much like soft-serve ice-cream; however, frozen yoghurt can be even higher in fat and sugar. Why? Fat carries flavour, and sugar increases its taste appeal.
Frozen yoghurt isn’t made from whole milk. Manufacturers combine powdered milk components with sugar (or another kind of sweetener), a yoghurt culture and a thickener, which could be a starch or gum, such as an extract of seaweed or another plant. Finally, they usually add a flavour to the mix.
In food manufacturing, the cost of every ingredient is strictly monitored. Sugar and fat are expensive, whereas air and water are cheap. This means that whipping frozen yoghurt with air and adding a thickener makes the product less costly to produce.
Soft-serve machines can also make frozen yoghurt. In this case, a machine combines a powdered mixture with water and freezes it. The more fat the mixture has, the more air the yoghurt absorbs, and the more air the yoghurt has, the creamier it tastes. Whipping the yoghurt helps it absorb more air, thereby expanding its volume and making it look like a larger serve.
HFG dietitian Brooke Longfield says:
Frozen yoghurt may seem like a healthy choice, but it usually has about half the calcium and nearly one and a half times the kilojoules of regular yoghurt. And that’s before you pile on sugary toppings, such as choc chips, gummy bears and even cookie dough, which quickly turn this treat into a kilojoule-laden dessert.
Also, many yoghurt bars are self-serve outlets, so if you’re a little heavy-handed, you could be consuming far more kilojoules than a scoop of regular of ice-cream would give you. To cut kilojoules (and save money!), choose the smallest cup size available, and top it with fresh fruit and a light sprinkling of nuts or coconut for extra fibre.