February 6 is National Frozen Yogurt Day! Frozen yogurt, or “FroYo” as it is often shortened to, is a frozen dessert made out of yogurt and other dairy products. It has a lower amount of fat than its sister dessert, ice cream, because it is made with milk instead of cream. It is also known for being slightly more tart than ice cream and sometimes contains live and active bacteria cultures.
In the 1970s, frozen yogurt was first put on the American market, but consumers found the tart yogurt taste to be unfavorable. It wasn’t until 1981 when the first TCBY opened featuring a sweeter version of the dessert that frozen yogurt’s popularity began to incline. TCBY differed from previous frozen yogurt sellers because they dispensed their yogurt in soft serve form through machines rather than selling it pre-packaged.
By the mid-90s, several other frozen yogurt chains had opened and frozen yogurt had accrued over $300 million in sales. In the late 1990s, however, Americans’ favored diets turned to higher protein and higher fat foods, causing the frozen yogurt trend to fall off as ice cream regained its previous popularity.
As quickly as frozen yogurt went out of style in the ‘90s, it made a resurgence in the mid 2000s with the invention of live probiotic powder-based mixes. This mix made frozen yogurt available in countries outside the United States for the first time. The tart flavors that were unpopular in the ‘70s suddenly began attracting a new crowd of frozen dessert aficionados and new frozen yogurt chains began popping up all over the world.
To celebrate National Frozen Yogurt Day, stop by your favorite FroYo shop – you might even find that some stores have special discounts today on this tasty frozen treat!