It’s one of the most trusted items in your grocery basket. You don’t think twice about throwing in a pack or two, because you know it’s healthy and would never betray you.
We’re talking about yogurt.
In its ordinary state – natural, full fat – that’s more or less true. It’s a boon to your immune system, is healthy for your bones, and satisfies hunger as well as any snack.
The problem: people rarely buy the natural, full fat, no flavour variant. We typically opt for the processed variety, which trades that ‘good’ yogurt for gelatine, sugar and additional flavourings. It’s cheaper to produce, and tastes better, but is much, much worse for you.
The Food Foundation campaign group studied this closer, examining Muller Corner, who accounts for 15% of the yogurt market in the U.K. They found their crunch corner series of yogurt contained between 21g and 30g of sugar.
For young children, one serving of that yogurt takes them close to the daily recommended sugar intake; for adults, it takes them just over the halfway mark.
Muller Corner does a great job advertising, however, (investing over £10m a year in 2015, the Food Foundation report said) so people are still buying the unhealthy alternative.
Less healthy foods are a three times cheaper source of calories than healthy foods, but promotions have influenced purchases by 20% more than people would otherwise. This is called obesogenic environment, and is a big reason why we don’t eat better food in general.
The stats are bigger than the yogurt epidemic: nearly two-thirds of the calories we consume are from highly processed foods, most of which is low in fibre and high in fat, sugar or salt. Three-quarters of people don’t eat enough fruits or vegetables either.
Until tighter restrictions on unhealthy food advertising are created, such as ending buy-one-get-one-free deals on awful foods, expect to see that bad yogurt in grocery carts everywhere.