Don’t Believe the Hype – There’s No Euphoria from Yoforia….

The new year has got me thinking… and reflecting on something I haven’t shared with you yet that I have been meaning to talk about. One thing I wanted to do when I started this blog was to uncover information not easily accessible to the general public and open more people’s eyes to the hidden dangers behind food marketing and labeling.

In the last 6 months – three major companies Kashi (Kellogg), Frito Lay, and Naked (Pepsi Co) have all been faced with lawsuits exposing the “unnatural” ingredients in their “All Natural” food products. People are suing these BIG FOOD companies because they are fed up with misinformation, marketing lies, and for the potential to unknowingly ingest hazardous substances (chemicals, GMOs, etc) that the food companies cover up with the word “natural” on their labels.

You would think that this recent legal action against these food giants for not upholding the food contents and quality on their packaging would wake up other food companies that might be in similar situations. You’d think that the word “All Natural” would be dropping off labels left and right to avoid litigation and class action lawsuits. But, no, sadly it hasn’t. That’s because their false claims make them money. Big money.

It’s often cheaper and less expensive for a business to continue with the status quo vs. implement change. Only when something happens directly for them to mandate change, does big business start to listen. This is evident in the slew of banking regulations after the mortgage meltdown of 2008.

So what has to melt down for food companies to start unveiling the truth? It will be something even more important than the economy and our wallets – It will be our health.

With that said – I want to share with you an interesting situation I encountered late last year….

Last Spring, I wrote a post about the ingredients in the Frozen Yogurt places that are popping up all over the place. One of the places I mentioned was “Yoforia” brand of yogurt – because they place signs that say “Organic Tastes Better” all over their store windows. I became really upset after learning that one of my favorite flavors “Taro” was laden with additives, transfat and food coloring. They totally tricked me with their marketing and I was mad, to say the least. I knew their product wasn’t “certified organic” but I thought they would at least adhere to their marketing and claims on using natural ingredients. I was terribly wrong.

IMG 0358

Since then, the ingredients which used to be on their website became missing with the Yoforia.com redesign. So I wondered – did they make a change to their products? Is it really organic now? I went on a hunt to find out…

The First Attempt – After not finding the ingredients anywhere on the Internet, I emailed them. I received no response for about 2 months. I also visited the store at the mall and asked if they had the ingredients – they did not.

Second Attempt – After not receiving a response, I was re-engaged if you will, after noticing a Yoforia was opening a couple blocks away from where I live. I thought to myself “Wouldn’t it be fabulous if they cleaned up their yogurt and I would feel good about supporting them when I wanted a treat!” – So I called them this time, with a response basically saying they’ll be publishing the ingredients soon. I said, “ok – I’ll just have to wait….”

Third Attempt – After not seeing the ingredients listed on their site about a month later, frustrated, I walked into the Yoforia store by my house one day and asked if they could show me a list of ingredients in my favorite flavor – “Taro.” They said they couldn’t tell me. I asked why – and they said because the mix they use comes in powdered form in small ziploc bags and doesn’t have a label. Was I really hearing this? To prove their point, one of the employees brought out this bag to show me: (I blurred out his face, to protect his identity)

IMG 0001

Wow – ok. This was obviously kinda weird. The manager begged me to go to the website to find the information I was looking for – I told him that I already tried this before, and even tried emailing and calling the headquarters.

Before I left, they did show me a package of the ingredients they used for their “non-tart” yogurt flavors.  I seriously couldn’t believe my eyes – “hydrogenated” fats were included in the list. The manager wouldn’t let me take a picture, claiming that it was “confidential” information and was a “trade secret.”

How in the world can a company have the marketing “Organic Tastes Better” written all over their windows, in addition to saying this below on their website, and get away with including hydrogenated fats, which are clearly not natural nor organic?!!!

here at yoforia we believe…

  • organic ingredients free of artificial flavors and colors create a healthier, better tasting yogurt experience
  • the health of our environment is as important as our individual health
  • if the thought of yoforia does not bring an instant smile to every customer, partner and employee, we are missing the point

Yoforia – yoforia yo∙for∙i∙a |yo̅ fôr′ē ə| noun. a healthy and delicious yogurt treat that sends your taste buds into a state of euphoria.
Yoforia is a new frozen yogurt concept that emphasizes natural and organic ingredients.

 

There’s no instant smile on my face. And there shouldn’t be on on your face either.

At this point – I was ready to write this post. But, for further investigation – I decided on one last attempt at emailing them. This what happened: (Note -I removed my personal info and left the publicly available Yoforia email addresses intact)

_______________________________________

First Email:

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 at 3:24 PM

To: jarod@spiraclebuzz.com, comments@yoforia.com, patricia@yoforia.com

Subject – Help! – Need Ingredient List for all flavors

Please Help!

Hi – I am writing again to inquiry about whether or not I can get a list of all the ingredients in all flavors at Yoforia.  I’ve visted multiple stores asking for this information and they do not carry it.  One manager pointed me back to the website – I let him know it wasn’t on there and that I had contacted yoforia.com via email and phone several times before asking for this information.  The person I talked to ensured me it would be updated soon.  Now – it’s been 3 months – and I am still waiting for a listing of all ingredients in the flavors at Yoforia to either be posted on the website or available at the stores.

Unfortunately, not knowing what is your product is preventing me and my family from trying Yoforia. Such a shame – since we live right down the street from one of your new stores.

Could you please send me the list of ingredients if you have it?  I am especially interested in Taro, Pistachio and the new Dark Chocolate flavor that has stevia in it.

Thank you kindly,
Vani

 

Response to First Email:

Patricia Morris Wed, Nov 2, 2011 at 3:34 PM
To: Vani
Cc: Jarod Latch

Vani,

Thank you for your inquiry requests. I apologize for the delay in getting back to you. I will tell you that I cannot give out a complte list of all of our ingredients as they are brand protected recipes; however, if you can let me know what specific ingredients’ you are looking for that, would help in getting you the information you need. For example: Gluten products, wheat, etc.

Hopefully we can get you the answers you need this way.

Thank you for your interest in Yoforia products.

Kind regards,
Patricia Morris

My First Response

From: Vani Sent: Wednesday, November 02, 2011 2:25 PM
To: jarod@spiraclebuzz.com; comments@yoforia.com; patricia@yoforia.com

Subject: Help! – Need Ingredient List for all flavors

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 at 4:02 PM
To: Patricia Morris Cc: Jarod Latch

Do you use Blue Food Coloring in the TARO? What about Yellow or Blue coloring in the Pistachio?

In the non tart flavors or any flavors – is there anything that is hydrogenated?

Do you use anymore artificial ingredients in any of the flavors?

Thank you -
Vani

Sent from my iPhone

My Second Response:

Sat, Nov 12, 2011 at 9:41 AM

To: Patricia Morris Cc: Jarod Latch

It’s now been a week and half – were you able to confirm these ingredients below?

Thank you kindly,
Vani

My Third Response:

Sun, Nov 20, 2011 at 10:00 PM
To: Patricia Morris Cc: Jarod Latch

Checking in one more time – were you able to confirm the ingredients
in the TARO and Pistachio flavors?

______________________________________________________________________

Ok enough with the emails…

All I want to know is what I am ingesting. Is that so hard to ask? Apparentely it is. As you can see they have chosen to ignore me and did not provide the ingredients I inquired about. I am asking about a product that most people consider to be a healthy choice and didn’t expect to be confronted with so much resistance.

What does one have to do to get information about their food? The average person is certainly not going to go through this kind of effort to understand what they are eating – they are going to trust what the package and writing on the wall says. There should be a certain level of mutual trust between consumers and businesses, right?

We trust food companies with our business, our money and our body – the least they can do is provide us with accurate information about their products.

What do you think about all this?

What can we do as consumers in a situation like this?

Does Yoforia really believe that “Organic Tastes Better”, but that it doesn’t apply to the products they sell?

What are the chances of Yoforia addressing this? Do you think they will finally release the information I am looking for?

Could this be a potential class action lawsuit brewing aganist them for selling non-natural food products and claiming they are natural and organic?

I know one thing – I’ll get my euphoria another way…

Food Babe

P.S. Join my Facebook Fan Page for more ideas and discussion with nutrition minded folks!

***If you are reading this for the first time – Check out the Response from the CEO of Yoforia here…. ***

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32 Responses to “Don’t Believe the Hype – There’s No Euphoria from Yoforia….”

  1. Christine Skrypzak

    Great post food babe! Arghhhh! This maddens me on so many levels-I know may people that think “organic” means healthy….that it equates weight-loss, so they buy things like “organic” pop-tarts, cereals and other fake foods thinking that they are making great food choices.

    Truth is I don’t blame my clients, I blame the food industry and how they lure people in with smoke and mirrors. This is what I call the diet matrix. It’s maddening and only leaves me to say…”there’s allot of work that needs to be done on our part”!!

    Thank you!!!

    Reply
  2. farmer_liz

    I admire your perseverance, and I hope this makes people think about both marketing claims and the crap that goes into processed foods. Are they claiming to use organic milk or organic fruit? It doesn’t even make sense to claim that frozen yoghurt is organic! Personally I would have stopped when I saw that bag of powder! That product couldn’t get any further away from what yoghurt is supposed to be! It has the potential to be a delicious, healthy probiotic, but when you do THAT to it, its no worth eating at all. In the meantime, maybe you should think about making your own frozen yoghurt, you can just freeze some nice (real) yoghurt and put it in the blender when you want to eat it and it comes out about the same as what they’re selling, except you actually know what was in it.

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to farmer_liz)

      Liz – That powdered bag is scary! I totally agree that it is the furthest thing from what yogurt is supposed to be. Great tip on how to freeze some at home! Thank You!

      Reply
  3. Holly

    This is surprising, but after working for a “natural” food company myself, I am really not that surprised. A couple of years ago, I jumped at the chance to work for a local sprout company that grows bean, pea and radish sprouts. Their name included the words “Natural Foods”, so I assumed that the product was grown safely. However, I found out that under federal law, the company was required to treat the seed with an insecticide prior to sprouting it and that it had to chlorinate their well water used in growing it. They couldn’t just filter the water—it was required by food laws to be chlorinated. This adversely affected the product’s growth and certainly affected its nutritional profile. My advice to you is to make sure that you wash whatever produce you use, whether it is organic or not. Even organic companies aren’t inspected as often as they should be.

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Holly)

      Thanks Holly for the advice… I really hope my sprouts aren’t treated with chlorine! Yikes. I’m double-checking on that ASAP.

      Reply
  4. Diane

    Wow, that’s outrageous! I’ve never heard of this store (I live on the east coast in a small town, don’t know where they’re located), but if I went through what you went through I’d probably be standing outside their store with a picket sign (I’m just that kind of person lol!) I sure do admire you for pursuing this.

    Reply
  5. Jenny

    Hi Vani, Thanks for this! I really appreciate your pursuit for healthy life and I celebrate your ambitions in making others more aware and educated. Please keep it up and I will do my part!

    Jenny

    Reply
  6. morgan

    Thanks for doing the research foodbabe! This is so infuriating!!! I feel like I can not trust anything I buy in a restaurant or at the grocery store. Please continue to pass along info on brands and restaurants we CAN trust. Your hard work and persistence is much appreciated!

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to morgan)

      You are welcome Morgan! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave this comment. It means the world to me that I am helping people!

      Reply
  7. Ruth

    Legally, don’t you have the right to nutritional information? I thought restaurants were supposed to have that information available if a customer asked. I was thinking that came about several years ago.
    Maybe that isn’t a federal thing.

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Ruth)

      Ruth – Good Point! I need to look into the laws in North Carolina where I live…If companies aren’t required, I want to spend sometime influencing change in that respect….

      Reply
  8. vinay

    Wow! Great report, it needs to be on 60 Minutes.

    Reply
  9. Rachel T Bardin

    this makes me absolutely livid!

    Reply
  10. Rian Harris

    I wanna see “THE OFFICIAL EMAIL!” ;)

    Reply
  11. Alisia

    This is a great article! I learned a long time ago to take the ‘natural’ label with a grain of salt (actually, I usually run in the opposite direction!). My frozen yogurt pet peeve is Red Mango. Although they don’t claim to be organic, they do market themselves as free from artificial ingredients, “unlike their competitors”. They do publish the ingredient lists online. The Banana Frozen yogurt has no banana in it, but ‘natural flavor’. The Black Cherry yogurt contains “Natural Cherry with Other Natural Flavors”. Even the Original Yogurt contains Natural Flavor.

    It would be a wonderful thing in this country to regulate the term in the food industry, although I’m sure lobbyists will fight any such endeavor with all they’ve got!

    Reply
  12. The Smoking Cupcake

    Let’s face it, unless you make it/grow it from scratch (sans Monsanto et al.), everything you consume is in one way or another directly from the Soylent Coproration. I have no doubt that, yes, sooner or later we’ll be eating people. The state of the American food delivery system is that bad – just an irrevolcable state of disrepair that is a vicious circle of profit and malnutrition with the ultimate goal of, as far as I can tell, making everyone in this country (ant others where they do business: http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/05-02-12-metro15c.htm) as fat and sickly as f***ing possible.

    TCS

    Reply
    • Drey (to The Smoking Cupcake)

      So very true.. which is why I kinda roll my eyes at the “shock” there seems to be over processed and fast food. It’s like you can whine and complain.. or you can get up and do something about it.
      I get all too well the health impact. Cook from scratch.. know who grows/raises your food… grow your own.
      With some knowledge- organic is one of the most economical ways to garden for yourself and the freshest you can ever get.

      Reply
  13. Nichole

    Has anyone posted this question to them on the Yoforia Facebook page? It is completely wrong that companies can get away with this kind of marketing and not have to back it up with proof that they truely are “organic and natural”. Thank you for writing this post, it is an eye opener!

    Reply
  14. Jessica

    I also have emailed them I will keep you posted on how things play out

    Jess

    Reply
  15. Yoforia

    Hi Vani,

    We would like to share with you a couple of things we have done in response to your feedback:
    1. We are going to clarify that “Organic Milk and Yogurt Taste Better”. While we were not intending to mislead anyone, it sounds like some people may have extrapolated our original signs to think that everything we offer is organic. We clearly label our flavor signs to state that we use organic milk and yogurt, not that the product is 100% organic. However, in order to make things more clear, we have decided to better define the message.
    2. In our mission statement we address our opinion on artificial colors and flavors. We believe that using organic ingredients and avoiding artificial colors/flavors truly creates a better product. Whenever possible, we avoid using artificial colors and flavors. We will better emphasize the “whenever possible” portion of that statement and will continue our efforts to eliminate their usage.

    One thing that needs to be understood is that, while we work hard every day to offer a perfect product, creating a 100% organic offering is not as simple as it sounds. Even a $12bn company like Chipotle cannot source 100% of their products from high quality sources. We, like them, have a goal of doing so one day, but it takes time. Additionally, we seem to be one of the only companies in the frozen yogurt industry that a) cares about what we are selling, and b) is doing anything to improve our product. We are constantly evolving our formula to provide a better product and we work on improving our product daily. This is why we feel your vitriol towards our brand is so misguided. Since I joined the company last year, we have removed several flavors that contain artificial colors or flavors. We have been working on an all-natural formula for over a year that is nearing production. I am frustrated daily by the many obstacles in our way, but we are making progress.

    Additionally, it needs to be made clear that we are a small, locally owned business that truly cares about the product we serve our customers. We do not have the resources of large companies that can force changes from our suppliers overnight or even research every marketing strategy to know that it will be received as intended.

    We have addressed your complaints about the marketing mistakes, but we would like to take it one step further. Therefore, given our common goals and your extensive knowledge and passion about the food industry, we would like to extend an offer for you to come meet with us to help improve our offering. The easy thing to do from a company standpoint would be to ignore the issue, but we actually care about the products we sell and are equally passionate about creating the healthiest offering possible.

    We are a company that wants to do the right thing, so let’s make a real difference together. Let me know what works for you and we’ll make it happen.

    Regards,
    Luke

    Luke Tashie
    Chief Executive Officer
    Yoforia, LLC

    Reply
  16. T.J.

    Nice post. However, by my assessment, it’s a myth that the housing crash was caused by a lack of regulation. The industry was actually very regulated. The wrong kinds of regulation can be just as damaging, or even worse, than a lack of regulations.

    Reply
  17. Chelsa

    I just found your blog and I’m not addicted. This is so great. I love your work!!

    Reply
  18. katie

    Hi!

    I wasn’t sure which thread to post my question to, I chose this one because it’s sort or related to frozen yoghurt. I’ve recently been trying a few of the different flavors offered by a brand of ice cream called “Arctic zero”, which claims to be 150 calories in a pint! It is a very satisfying treat but 150 calories just sounds too good to be true, do you know much about this product and if it’s actually very processed?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  19. sophia

    Hi. i have a yoforia close to me and I always choose to go there over other cheaper places (and there are a lot of fro yos in Atlanta) because I want to put whole, organic products in my body. So disappointing to read this. Any updates? I looked on yoforia’s website today, and all I found was a statement by the CEO that it was hard to publish a complete list of ingredients. ? This appears to be the case because they do not make the yogurt themselves. They buy a number of other products, and combine them to make theirs. http://yoforia.com/from-the-yoforia-ceo-the-scoop-on-our-ingredients/ In any case, the hydrogenated fats bother me more than anything else on the list. I’m done with yofo unless they change something. So sad. ;(

    Reply
  20. Polly

    I would like to start making my own yogurt. Does Food Babe have a recommendation for a brand? Or for what qualifications to look for in a yogurt maker? or which things to avoid? Thank you so much!!

    Hats off to Food Babe! You are a force of nature!!

    Reply
  21. Sue

    I just learned that my local store is now charging adults one dollar extra for wanting the smallest cup of yogurt. They are restricting the smallest serving to children 10 and under. After reading this blog, and the owner’s attempt to rip me off by charging me for a medium sized serving when I just want a small serving, the information has motivated me to stop purchasing the product. I can make my own “organic” yogurt for a lot less than what they charge per serving. Thanks for oing the research for the rest of us.

    Reply

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