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Is Savory Yogurt The Next Big Thing?

Savory yogurts--those that are tart rather than sweet--are expected to be immensely popular this year. Think beyond the typical strawberry or vanilla yogurt and get your calcium, vitamin D, and hunger-smashing protein from savory yogurts with flavors such as parsnip or butternut squash.

Yogurt types and flavors have expanded far beyond the typical vanilla. There are now dozens of flavors lining the ever-increasing dairy aisle of your local grocery store. The vast majority of the flavors are sweet--ranging from fruity to chocolatey to almost desert-like concoctions. Boston cream pie, strawberry cheesecake, and piña colada are just a few flavors that come to mind. Some yogurts even come with little chocolate candy pieces you add in.

However, the yogurt section is about to swell to even larger proportions with the addition of savory yogurts. Sweetened yogurts still reign supreme in the dairy section, but new yogurt launches shaped by an increasing interest in global flavors and seasonings are broadcasted to skyrocket. This consumer interest in more authentic international flavors, coupled with an uptick in seeking products with less sugar or no sugar at all, sets a perfect platform for savory yogurts to increase in popularity. Recent market research predicts that savory--not sweet--yogurts will be the next big thing.

Industry analysts project that we will spend upwards of $9.5 billion--yes, that’s billion with a B--on yogurt products in the year 2017. While sweetened yogurts will still make up a large portion of that market, experts agree savory yogurts, or plain unsweetened yogurts to be used in savory preparations, will inch their way into our hearts (well, technically, our stomachs). Yogurt is chock-full of calcium and vitamin D, which is important for bone health, as well as hunger-squelching protein.

If you’re into Greek food, consider the delicious classic tzatziki sauce, which is a yogurt dressing with garlic, cucumber, olive oil, lemon juice and sometimes dill. Market experts also suggest that spicy yogurts--those showcasing jalapeno or chipotle peppers--will be popular.

Savory Yogurt Flavors on the Shelves

Blue Hill -- this company boasts that all of its yogurt is “made only with milk from 100% grass-fed cows from small, family-owned farms in the Northeast.” Their flavors include carrot, sweet potato, beet, butternut squash, tomato, and parsnip.

Sohha, a yogurt company based in Brooklyn, sells Lebanese-style savory yogurt without any additives or sweeteners. ‘

Another brand hoping to cash in on this developing trend is Smári, which produces an Icelandic-type of yogurt.

Then there is the cleverly-named company White Moustache, which produces small-batch savory yogurts in Greek and Persian varieties (one enticing flavor is spring shallot).

Ways to Use Greek Yogurt in Savory Recipes

Plain, unsweetened yogurt is so incredibly versatile that you can take part in the savory yogurt trend right in your own home.

*It can be used in place of sour cream and mayonnaise in a variety of dips and spreads. *Chop up some fresh herbs, add a little vinegar, salt and pepper to your plain yogurt and you’ve created a tangy ranch-style yogurt dip.

*Make your pasta dishes a little lighter with Greek yogurt. After cooking your whole-wheat pasta (toss in some veggies such as spinach, broccoli, or cauliflower to amp up the nutrition and taste!), make a lower-fat sauce with about 1/2 cup plain, nonfat yogurt, 2 cups reduced-fat cheese, and about 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water. Season with herbs and spices and enjoy the melty, yummy, cheesiness guilt-free! To cut calories even further, substitute zucchini “noodles” for the regular pasta noodles using a vegetable spiralizer.

*Make your deviled eggs slightly less devilish by using plain, nonfat yogurt (Greek or regular) in place of mayo.

*Bored with your regular marinara pizza sauce? Try this creamy pea yogurt sauce instead: simply blend 1/2 cup peas, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, and 1/4 cup of water in a blender. Spread on crust and top with veggies and cheese as usual.

*Make a lotta frittata, adding in nonfat yogurt to boost calcium content and enhance the fluffiness of the eggs.

*Drop a dollop into soups for a more velvety consistency.

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