Saturday, May 18, 2019

Non-Dairy Chobani Review

If you asked me what I miss the most since going dairy-free, without a doubt I would say yogurt. No matter how many brands and new products have made their debut in the refrigerated section, I have yet to find a non-dairy yogurt that has the right consistency and is also not loaded with sugar. 

You see, yogurt was a staple of my pre-dairy-free life, and was a staple of my morning routine, whether eaten on its own or with a sprinkling of granola. Back in those days, Chobani's greek yogurts were the gold standard. Once I discovered my dairy intolerance, their yogurts neared the top of the list of products that have left a yet-to-be filled vacuum in my fridge (and heart).

That all changed when I learned that Chobani has debuted new non-dairy "yogurt" that's coconut-based in a traditional cup and travel-friendly drinkable versions. Ecstatic at the prospect that this company and food group could reenter my life, I eagerly purchased one of each of the offerings my local Giant had in store so as to set up a cautiously optimistic taste test to see if these are the real deal. 

Chobani's non-dairy line is gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan (they are made in a shared facility that also handles milk). They are made with six live and active probiotic cultures, and cane sugar and/or fruit are the sweeteners of choice (they advertise as being 25% less sugar than their competitors). It's also worth noting what's not in these new products. Soy, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives are off the table here. 

For more information about ingredients and certifications, check out Chobani's website


Non-Dairy Chobani Cups

Of course if there were ever a place to start this review, it would be with Chobani's slightly sweet plain variety. I must admit that I'm not a huge coconut person, so this was the non-dairy offering I was most reluctant to try because I feared that it would be basically like eating coconut milk only in a yogurt-esque form. 

I'm happy to report that my fears were unfounded, as the yogurt is light and has a wonderful tanginess to it. It's definitely reminiscent of greek yogurt in flavor (but not in texture). Sure, there's a hint of coconut, but it truly lives up to it's "simply sweet " name, as it's an ideal canvas for adding toppings (granola, cacao nibs, etc.) because it's not overpoweringly sweet.

Texture-wise, the yogurt has a lovely creaminess and thick consistency. Unlike Chobani's signature Greek yogurts, this is more along the lines of the standard grocery store yogurt variety. Consistency and texture are especially difficult to get right for dairy-free products, and I was won over by Chobani's execution.



The strawberry variety has a surprisingly intense strawberry flavor, which was reminiscent of strawberry sorbet. I liked seeing the bits of real strawberries in this cup, and they added textural contrast to the smooth and creamy yogurt base (stir for best results and enjoy right from the fridge). In comparison to the slightly sweet, this yogurt is definitely heftier, and feels more substantial as a snack or component of a meal.



The vanilla yogurt builds off of the slightly sweet yogurt with a wonderful vanilla flavor. Too often, vanilla yogurts think they need to replica vanilla ice cream or vanilla frosting and are just too sickeningly sweet. Here, the sweetness and intensity of vanilla flavor is such that eating the yogurt feels like a decadent treat, and there's no sever sugar drop-off after enjoying. 



With four varieties available at my local grocery store, one has to come in last place in my rankings, and unfortunately the blueberry non-dairy Chobani fills that rank. Of the four flavors, this yogurt had the most off-putting flavor and a gritty consistency (I suspect due to the blueberry bits). Yes, real blueberries are used for the color and flavor, but it was just underwhelming to me. Whereas the strawberry had an intense, unmistakable berry flavor, the blueberry flavor here was lackluster and lacked vibrancy and potency. 


Non-Dairy Chobani Drink

The two drinkable varieties available at my local grocery store are the slightly sweet and strawberry. Unlike their cupped cousins, the consistency with both drinks is a lot less creamy and smooth. It's more the consistency of a nut milk, just with a more robust flavor. 

The standout of the two was by far the strawberry, which unlike in it's other form, as a lovely strawberries and cream flavor. It's refreshing and a perfect pick-me-up on my morning commute. The slightly sweet in this form is truer to the flavor of the cupped version, and while I enjoyed the flavor, I much prefer it in its thicker, creamier version. 

Although I appreciate the portioning and convenience of these bottles, I will be a more reliable purchaser of the cups. Drinkable yogurts just weren't something I enjoyed before going dairy-free, so I naturally prefer the spoonable, thicker, creamier version of non-dairy Chobani. Nevertheless, I'm happy these exist in the world for those who have been looking for a dairy-free version of this style of yogurt. 


On a bit of a tangent (not taste/texture related front), I also want to applaud Chobani's packaging. The cups and drinks are easily recyclable with lapels that effortlessly peal away to reveal the plastic cup or bottle that can be rinsed and recycled. I appreciate the thought and execution of the packaging, for it's innovative design and eco-friendliness.  

I came into this review really hoping to like Chobani's non-dairy products (if only to have a reliable option in the yogurt aisle of grocery stores), and am pleased to report they won me over with delicious flavors, simple ingredients, and an absolutely unbeatable convenience factor. These coconut-based "yogurts" have earned their place as a regular in my fridge, and this reunion is oh, so sweet with endless possibilities. Yogurt parfaits? Smoothies? Travel-friendly breakfast options? These all are most welcome back into the regular rotation of my gluten-free, dairy-free life. 


Disclaimer: This review is current to the original publication date. Updates will be noted. Ingredients and manufacturing processes can change without notice. Each product should be reviewed for individual nutritional needs. Feel free to to contact me with any questions or comments. I purchased the product independently and this review is a reflection of my personal opinion. 

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