The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

    Frozen treats: a new Chicago favorite

    Frozen yogurt, commonly referred to as “froyo,” has had fans eagerly lining up the past few years. Unlike other frozen treats, it’s considered healthy too.

    The frozen treat has taken off across the U.S. and is so popular that suppliers are continually franchising out to keep up with the demand. One the most successful and most popular frozen yogurt stores is Chicago-based Forever Yogurt.

    Walk through any Chicago neighborhood and you are bound to see more than one person holding a pink cup and spoon with the company’s recognizable logo, particularly in the hot summer months.

    Forever Yogurt has garnered praise not only from its own customers, but from local media as well. Time Out Chicago awarded the company with its “2012 EatOut” award while the Chicago Reader awarded it their “Best Frozen Yogurt” award last year. Even popular coupon site Groupon put the company on their “Groupon’s Best of 2011 Chicago” list.

    According to an article from U.S. News, between the fall of 2010 and 2011 frozen yogurt shops increased from 3,624 to 4,764, an increase of 30 percent. Frozen yogurt shops have also made close to 6 billion a year and the number of shops opening has only continued to increase.

    Another thing that sets apart Forever Yogurt from other frozen yogurt chains is its unique yet simple self-serve premise. Instead of entering and waiting to be served, customers instead simply walk in and grab a pink standard sized cup. With it, you proceed to the stations that hold different flavors of frozen yogurt. Put your cup under and with the simple pull of a lever you put in as much yogurt you want.

    With that done, you make your way to the toppings station with items such as candy sprinkles, coco flakes, Reese’s Pieces and chocolate chips. With nearly 60 toppings to choose from, there’s something for everyone – but it doesn’t end there. Right next to the toppings is an assortment of fresh fruits; your limit is only the size of your cup.

    After you’re done, you simply proceed to the counter where an employee measures the contents of your cup and gives you the price. And with that, you are left to enjoy your own frozen concoction.  

    So what are the ingredients that make up frozen yogurt, and how healthy is it really? According to the company’s brochure (available to customers in-store), Frozen Yogurt contains “live and active cultures that aid with digestion.” There are also varieties that fall under categories such as non-fat, low-fat, no sugar added and non-dairy – most flavors are gluten-free.

    Probiotics, a healthy strain of bacteria, is what gives frozen yogurt most of its healthy properties. The probiotics “streptococcus thermophilus” and “lactobacillus bulgaricus,” in particular, are what produce lactase in frozen yogurt which gives it its positive digestion properties.

    However, just like any other food, when it comes to health, portion is key. According to David Katz, a nutrition expert at Yale University, you should always try to minimize the amount of yogurt and increase the amount of fruit while keeping toppings to a minimum.

    New yogurt flavors are constantly introduced and flavors are constantly rotated in the different store locations. There have been over 80 flavors since Forever Yogurt opened its doors.

    But the franchise is slowly branching out beyond simply serving frozen yogurt. More recently, the store has begun offering hot chocolate drinks during the winter for those looking for something warmer.

    The combination of different flavored yogurts as well as the simple self-serve customization idea behind the business has proven extremely successful. There are currently eight locations in Chicago, but with business booming there are already plans to open 15 more locations across the state of Illinois.

    But Forever Yogurt is setting its sites even further. It already has plans to franchise in other states including Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas, New York and Florida. There are even plans to open multiple locations in Panama.

    Allison Barinholtz, a DePaul student and self-confessed “foodie,” also has a soft spot for frozen yogurt.

    “Especially for someone with a ‘sweet tooth’ like myself, frozen yogurt is a fantastic option for a refreshing breakfast or snack,” said Barinholtz. “Forever Yogurt has brightened many of my mornings with a light and tasty treat. The option to customize your order gives the customer freedom to make their froyo as hearty or healthy as they desire. This is something I crave any time of the year, whether it’s freezing or blistering outside.”