Over the past ten years, frozen yogurt, or FroYo as terrible people call it, has gained immense popularity all over the dessert-munching world. Most major cities are now furnished with frozen yogurt shops where you get to choose your own toppings, and it’s considered some kind of chic delicacy, or healthy alternative to most other desserts. This is an injustice to real desserts, and represents how health crazes and fashionable gastronomy have altered the way we look at food. Basically, frozen yogurt is the worst, and needs to be stopped.
Yogurt has been a thing for over four millennia, eaten mainly by cultures in India and the Middle East to begin with, only making it to the states after the turn of the 20th century. Dannon, a company that originated in Barcelona, was the first to put yogurt in little packages, introducing prepackaged yogurt cups to the states in the 1930s. All was well and dandy until in the 1970s people decided to use freezing technology on yogurt, welcoming FroYo to the world. People complained it tasted funny, though, and companies tried to engineer the stuff closer to ice cream, and by the 2000s a tart, probiotic-injected FroYo was spreading throughout the land.
Pinkberry, an allegedly revolutionary frozen yogurt chain with a top it yourself attitude, opened in California in 2005, and since then FroYo as a healthy alternative to other frozen treats has become supremely popular. The fact that most of these joints have many toppings and charge by the weight of the paper cup+yogurt+toppings hooks people as well. The allure of Pinkberry and other stores using this model is undeniable. And it’s simply the worst.
To me, the frozen yogurt model of dessert consumption demonizes other forms of gobbling up freezer sweets. Although frozen yogurt may often be laden with chemicals, it’s often assumed healthier than ice cream, leading to a not so healthy outcome, which is wolfing down more FroYo (a lot of the time with guilty pleasure toppings which are, in isolation, pretty gross for your body). Saying a hefty cup of yogurt topped with sprinkles (jimmies, if you are from New England) and chocolate sphere things is better than ice cream proves that FroYo on its own just doesn’t do the trick.
The whole health food dessert movement, with FroYo at the frontlines, gives tasty, real desserts a bad name. Its existence makes eating an ice cream sundae an event to feel guilty over, the knowledge that a Pinkberry holds a more culturally sound, health craze oriented alternative constantly eating at your conscience. A chocolate cake now has to be made with organic ingredients and low fat flare to compete with not-as-tasty health desserts that only try to compete.
Really, FroYo is a placeholder for ice cream and gelato. In similar quantities, frozen yogurt really doesn’t seem all that healthier, and doesn’t inspire the sheer delight ice cream always does. FroYo exists to give some sense of sweet satisfaction without the remorse and guilt, but life can only be enjoyed once, so a journey to the frozen yogurt shack is actually a wasted experience. A real dessert, while marginally less healthy, is consumed for joy, not for fashion or minute health benefits. Next time your sweet tooth awakens and inspires a trip to some form of dessert dispensary, ask yourself this, “Why am I eating frozen yogurt?” It’s not because it’s more enjoyable than ice cream, gelato, or a brownie sundae, it’s because of cultural guilt created and disseminated by the same evil geniuses that promote jogging and heat yoga. I’m not saying become a greasy slob hindered by slabs of your own fat, but know how to treat yourself instead of hiding an indulgent craving. It’s like going for a crepe when you know you really want pancakes or a sandwich (but that’s a whole other thing). Stop letting FroYo win, before it’s too late (cut to a post-apocalyptic wasteland where hipster cred is the only currency).