No Yogurt In Pinkberry "Frozen Yogurt"

A story that sounds more like an LSAT question than a consumer issue arrived in our inbox today:

It’s illegal to manufacture yogurt in a store in California. At “trendy” fro-yo chain “Pinkberry,” frozen yogurt is manufactured in store (in California.) Therefore, Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt isn’t frozen yogurt. Or is it?

Jamin Katz, manager says: “It is yogurt. It’s made with non-fat yogurt. It’s healthy for you.”

Steve Lyle, CA Dept. of Food and Agriculture says : “The fundamental issue we have with Pinkberry is they manufacture the product on premises.”

While Pinkberry and the CA. Dept. of Food and Agriculture work out their differences, Bryan Williams L.A. says (in his lawsuit) that Pinkberry doesn’t have all the ingredients of yogurt. He alleges that yogurt without yogurt cultures its not yogurt. According to William’s attorney, he’s not suing for money. “He simply wants Pinkberry to change its logo, change its signs, and be honest with its customers.” Do the customers care?

“As long as no children are hurt in the making of this yogurt, I’ll still come,” said one unnamed customer. So is it yogurt or not? —MEGHANN MARCO

Lawsuit Claims Pinkberry Isn’t Really Yogurt [KABC] (Thanks, J.N.!)
(Photo:Wendalicious)

Comments

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  1. joeblevins says:

    I appreciate the idea that if it says yogurt, it should be yogurt.

  2. mantari says:

    Wait a second… it is made with non-fat yogurt? How do the cells manage to perform any basic functions without the presence of any lipids?

  3. not_seth_brundle says:

    Do my eyes deceive or are they offering Cap’n Crunch as a topping?

  4. Moosehawk says:

    That looks like some bitchin’ yogurt.

    Er, non-yogurt yogurt. Or yogurt flavored non-fat non-yogurt yogurt. or whatever.

  5. Reasonable Doubt for a Reasonable Price says:

    I think I saw this in a Simpsons episode once.

    Is the frogurt cursed?

  6. tcp100 says:

    Wow. I’ve never been to Pinkberry, but for some reason I have a strange indication that the place may make Starbucks look like a non-stop group hug when it comes to the trendy annoying factor.

  7. Moosehawk says:

    @Reasonable Doubt for a Reasonable Price:

    Yes, but you get your choice of toppings. That’s good.

  8. BeastMasterJ says:

    @Reasonable Doubt for a Reasonable Price: I think I saw this in a Simpsons episode once.

    Man… I was hoping I’d be the first to make the reference. Too slow :-(

  9. Skeptic says:

    It’s pretty ridiculous that they are allowed to keep the actual ingredients and other details secret, such that the manager can say only “It’s made from real yogurt. I can tell you that right now.”

  10. Falconfire says:

    It’s illegal to manufacture yogurt in a store in California

    Is there anything you ARE legal to do in the wackjob state?

    I mean christ how hard is it to have a inspector oversee production in a store? Its not like it takes a doctorate in food sciences and whiteroom like conditions with people in bunny suits to make yogurt. I know a lot of people who make it at home with no ill effects.

  11. igj says:

    The article in the Los Angeles Times claimed that to be frozen yogurt, the substance must be manufactured off-site and shipped/delivered to the shop. That seems to be a regulation designed to cater to, and to give a major advantage to, big business–no artisinal yogurts allowed in the city of angels.

    Of course, having regulations favor bigger businesses/chains is nothing new or shocking. Still, I live two blocks from a Pinkberry and their products TASTES more like actual yogurt than anything produced in a Penguins FroYo factory and shipped to ‘retail outlet #27.’ So, from my perspective, I just don’t care if it isn’t frozen yogurt by the California Dept. of Agriculture definition. I’m just as happy buying ‘Yogurt-flavored frozen food product.’

  12. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Yeah, they offer some interesting toppings.. from fresh fruit to cereal to green tea to the usual stuff you find at a frozen yogurt shop.

    I think the guy that started this lawsuit had too much time on his hands. No one really cares if it’s yogurt or not. They’re not eating it for health reasons. It’s a dessert!

  13. kitman420 says:

    What about the people who eat the yogurt for the low-fat benefits and it turns out it’s not really yogurt? Sounds like the making of a great Seinfeld episode.

  14. Falconfire says:

    @Skeptic: Its not for evil purposes. Its kinda like how your grandma wont let you in on her recipe either. Many prepared foods are like this since it would end up being very easy to then steal emulate and run out the store if the exact ingredients and proportions where known.

    You cant trademark or copyright a taste or food product. So you can only copyright the recipe. Its a pretty evil buisness too. Competitors are well known to send in people to try to steal the secrets. When I worked at Dairy Queen/Auntie Annes we where like sworn to secrecy on the batter for the pretzels and most of the ingredients came pre-mixed with no listing to prevent corporate theft. A few of us knew what was in it so we could tell people yeah it had nuts or no it was made with white flour and such, but proportions and makeup as well as actually saying to the letter what was in it as opposed to saying yes and no to someone asking about a specific ingredient they where allergic to was punishable by being fired and then sued for breeching contract.

    Only reason I was even allowed to know what was in it was because I was a assistant manager.

  15. skittlbrau says:

    i will continue to eat the pinkberry, even if it is cursed or not “yogurt” per cali’s standards.

    sometimes a girl needs her yogurt with raspberries

  16. Beerad says:

    @Falconfire: “Only reason I was even allowed to know what was in it was because I was a assistant manager.”

    Yes, obviously Auntie Anne’s is doing a great job at protecting their proprietary secrets if they only let assistant managers know what’s in the mix. And I’m sure noone else can concote an overly buttery pretzel dough on their own.

    I don’t know, I kinda support the idea that bored teenage minimum wage earners shouldn’t be allowed to handle bacterial cultures going in my food.

  17. latrevo says:

    if it’s not yogurt, but it’s made from yogurt, what the hell is it?

  18. Falconfire says:

    @Beerad: you do realize that across the world, bored teenage minimum wage earners, as well as bored adult minimum wage earners are the ones putting EVERYTHING in your food.

    Your statement is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard in my life. Like it makes a difference if someone made it in the back fresh with the proper equipment, vs a assembly line. Its the same people doing it, as long as its being inspected who gives a shit?

  19. amyjay says:

    One would think that as long as they’re using the bacteria that’s legal, that it’d be ok to make yogurt on premise. Why not just make there be a specific license to make it at the store? They let businesses brew beer on premise, and the concept of brewing beer and making yogurt aren’t all that different.

  20. mathew says:

    Not yogurt, eh?

    “One taste is never enough of The Stuff!”

  21. Falconfire says:

    BTW its not like making yogurt is that hard, or that dangerous.

    http://chetday.com/howtomakeyogurt.htm

  22. 44 in a Row says:

    But Moosehawk, the toppings contain sodium benzoate.

  23. B says:

    @Moosehawk: “The toppings contain potassium benzoate.” …. “That’s bad.”
    “Can I go now?”

  24. Sinflux says:

    Pinkberry=best frozen dessert type thing. I kinda figured it wasn’t really yogurt since it tastes nothing like yogurt, but it still tastes awesome.

  25. mantari says:

    Yes, obviously Auntie Anne’s is doing a great job at protecting their proprietary secrets if they only let assistant managers know what’s in the mix. And I’m sure noone else can concote an overly buttery pretzel dough on their own.

    @Beerad: Funny you mention Auntie Anne’s top secret pretzel recipe. You can get yourself a pretty good version of it at Top Secret Recipes, which reverse-engineers a lot of fast food and restaurant ‘secret recipes’.

  26. Falconfire says:

    @44 in a Row: And? so do most berries in amounts far exceeding the FDA limit.

  27. Skeptic says:

    @ Falconfire, who writes:

    @Skeptic: Its not for evil purposes. Its kinda like how your grandma wont let you in on her recipe either. Many prepared foods are like this since it would end up being very easy to then steal emulate and run out the store if the exact ingredients and proportions where known.

    You cant trademark or copyright a taste or food product.
    Well, that’s just too effing bad. I know why manufacturers want to keep food ingredients secret, I just happen to think that the public’s right to know what they are eating outweighs the benefits to allowing the ingredients to remain secret.

    You can’t copyright recipes, either, but that hasn’t stopped the cookbook or Cooking TV show industries from growing. I’m sure the restaurant industry can easily survive without trade secret ingredients as well.

  28. Youthier says:

    This makes me very jealous. There is literally no where in a 60 mile radius of me that sells frozen yogurt or frozen non-yogurt. I literally lived off that stuff one summer before they closed the BR I worked at.

  29. aka Cat says:

    @Falconfire: I’m sorry, you have failed to get the pop culture reference. Please try again later.

  30. vanilla-fro says:

    I’m with Skeptic, they need to tell us what is in the stuff we eat. I don’t need the ratios of ingredients, just what they are. You can’t duplicate it unless they tell you the amount of rat turds vs. the amount of human hair, you just won’t be able to get the right combination on your own.

  31. SexCpotatoes says:

    Bah! I only consume yogurt made from the milk of children’s tears!

  32. Dustbunny says:

    @kitman420:

    I’m pretty sure there was a Seinfeld episode about some low-fat yogurt place whose yogurt turned out not to be low-fat and everybody who ate it gained weight.

  33. Triteon says:

    There’s no beer in Beer Nuts but you won’t hear me complaining, unless there’s no beer in me.

  34. Falconfire says:

    @Skeptic: Actually your wrong and right

    However, where a recipe or formula is accompanied by substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions, or when there is a combination of recipes, as in a cookbook, there may be a basis for copyright protection.

    Which is what is usually the case for those recipes you see out there, which they turn into internal franchise books that depending on how they run things either you pay a lot of money for, or have to protect in a safe or other means.

    Not saying that I agree with it though, I also feel consumers have the right to know. But as a smart consumer I ALSO assume that anything Im going to buy at a store like Carvel or Burger King, or even an upscale restaurant is GOING to be bad for me nutrition wise. Thats just the way it is and the way it has always been for hundreds of years now.

    I can safely assume that unlike in the early 1900’s its not going to kill me outright (as food like hot dogs and other such things actually DID do) but there is not going to be the same nutritional value as something I cook myself.

  35. Nicholai says:

    @not_seth_brundle:


    I think it looks like calamari.

  36. Skeptic says:

    @ Falconfire who cited:

    However, where a recipe or formula is accompanied by substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions, or when there is a combination of recipes, as in a cookbook, there may be a basis for copyright protection.

    Indeed, I did not bother to be more specific about whether I meant the ingredients and process for cooking or the exact written instructions as described by specific author in a creative work. I meant the former rather than the latter. Recipes in that sense can’t be copyrighted although the specific words used in a cookbook may be copyright to the degree the express the recipe creatively and not factually. The idea and specifics of a recipe are not copyrightable which was my point–anyone can copy a recipe. This fact has not brought the food industry to its knees.

    But as a smart consumer I ALSO assume that anything Im going to buy at a store like Carvel or Burger King, or even an upscale restaurant is GOING to be bad for me nutrition wise. Thats just the way it is and the way it has always been for hundreds of years now.

    There is more to our choice of foods than whether it is generally toxic or infectious. People may choose to eat foods based on allergies, religion, philosophy, taste, whatever. “Nutrition” is only part of the equation.

  37. ikes says:

    @kitman420: And what ARE the benefits of low-fat frozen yogurt with captain crunch topping?

  38. Mr. Gunn says:

    I think there should be a law against the person who wrote that article.

    Fro-yo, mo-gurt, no-gurt? Pinkberry is made of people! Ahhh!!!

  39. Mr. Gunn says:

    I apologize for that last comment(the writer has been sacked). I’ve been confusing this place for fark lately.

    /started happy hour late, but I’m making up for lost time.

  40. Mr. Gunn says:

    I apologize for that last comment. The person responsible for sacking the writer of the original comment has been sacked.

  41. Mr. Gunn says:

    ////forgot to add teh slashies!!!

  42. a says:

    I don’t care if it’s made of people. Pinkberry is frozen deliciousness.

  43. TSS says:

    @not_seth_brundle:
    Your eyes do not deceive you. They also have Fruity Pebbles and Coco Pebbles.

    And it is delicious!

  44. Jesse in Japan says:

    How many Native Americans did you have to slaughter to make that yogurt!?

  45. llanim says:

    I’ve never been to a Pinkberry, so I have a simple question: do they actually call it frozen yogurt?

    Cuz the thing is, I’m looking at their website and I can’t find a single instance of the word yogurt — not on the menu page, the nutritional facts page, nor the products page.

    In fact, the only nouns I can find to describe the stuff are “products,” “bliss,” and “food.”

  46. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Do they have Soylent Pinkberry? Maybe the active yogurt cultures are contained within the Cap’n Crunch?

    I definitely think the Frogurt is cursed. That’s bad.

  47. asherchang says:

    The other day I tasted this low-carb, non-fat icecream substitute called Frace (with an “ay” at the end). It was the most non-food-y tasting “food” I have ever tasted.

  48. LaniNizbit says:

    @Falconfire:
    The artificial and natural flavors being put in it, “natural flavor” is another word for MSG so of course you are going to never get enough. Lots of food producers use MSG and that is why americans are so overweight, they never get enough or th satiation center never lets you know you are full thanks to good ol MSG, it’s very bad for us.

  49. nick_r says:

    Wait a minute. Wasn’t there already a huge controversy over whether or not Pinkberry was really “yogurt,” and the company bent over backwards to prove that the product had all the active cultures necessary to qualify as real yogurt?