By Micah Hall

Yogurt isn’t just a food, it is a part of my childhood. When I was young, it was one of my favorite breakfast foods. When available, I would eat one yogurt with every breakfast. When my parents weren’t looking, I would sneak extra for lunch, dinner, and even the occasional mid-day snack.

Then my parents became vegan. Instead of creamy and delicious real yogurt, I got soy yogurt, which always separated when you ate it, wasn’t creamy, and had so little flavor that we resorted to salting it before eating it. On the rare occasions we got real yogurt[1], I would eat multiple yogurts in a day, quenching my thirst for yogurt but leaving me lacking when the next breakfast arrived.

That is why my friends and I embarked on a quest to see which yogurt is truly the greatest yogurt. Because yogurt isn’t just a food, it is an essential part of our collective childhoods.

On Mother’s Day, three of my closest friends arrived at my house to try some yogurts. It was important to me that we heard from diverse perspectives for this yogurt tasting, so I invited two other white men and Joshua Huh (who is lactose intolerant). I thought his perspective as someone who farts after eating yogurt would add an important voice to the conversation. Carston Haffner and Josh arrived first, with William Johnson and myself arriving a few minutes later, yogurt in hand.

We decided to evaluate the yogurt on the following not-at-all subjective characteristics: consistency, taste, visual appeal, texture, tartness, sweetness, and the amount of nibs[2]: in the yogurt. We combined those scores into an aggregate to see which option was the best overall.

These qualities can be used to determine if a yogurt is right for you. For example, if you love blueberry yogurt but hate blueberry nibblies, then you would want to choose a blueberry yogurt with a low nibs score.

For this study, we primarily compared Tillamook and Lucerne yogurts head-to-head to see which brand came out on top.[3] The answer here was fairly definitive. Tillamook was given better overall scores on all fronts. Consistency was the biggest difference between the brands. Lucerne had a very wet and glossy consistency that never felt quite right. Tillamook had a firmer but more delicate consistency that was consistently better than Lucerne. It also had more nibs than Lucerne[4], a feature that really elevated their yogurt. A perfect example is the Tillamook Blueberry. It was packed to the brim with nibs, receiving an average nibs score of 4.3/5. This is miles ahead of the Lucerne Blueberry, which earned an embarrassing 1.8 on the nibs scale.

In fact, the only place where Lucerne surpassed Tillamook was with their peach yogurt. This wasn’t due to Lucerne’s technical prowess, but was instead because of missteps by Tillamook. The Lucerne Peach was by all accounts a middling yogurt with an unsatisfactory amount of nibbly bits for our chewing. However, the Tillamook peach had a bland color and an equally bland flavor that its extra nibs[5] could not make up for.

Overall, we gained three important pieces of information:

  1. Tillamook is better than Lucerne. It has better flavor, better texture, and more nibs. Lucerne is a slightly sweeter yogurt, but even fans of sweet yogurt should choose Tillamook for its superior consistency and balance of flavors.
  2. Tillamook Blueberry is the best yogurt. This was reviewed by myself and some peers. We agree that it is the best.
  3. Nibs can make or break a yogurt. Maybe I am becoming an old man, afraid when things change, but unable to stop the changes[6]. However, I remember a time when nibs ran wild in yogurt. Peach yogurt had big peach nibblies, strawberry yogurt had so many chewy strawberry nibs that I actively looked for a less nibbly yogurt. Where has that time gone? So many of these yogurts could have been fantastic, but they were held down by a lack of nibs. Ultimately, I believe nibs are a mark of authenticity. They show that the yogurt makers are happy to give up authentic nibbles in favor of a watered down yogurt experience. I think that this is an important lesson for society.

  1. Squirted right out of the cows milk area. ↩︎

  2. Nibbly little fruit bits ↩︎

  3. We also looked at a couple Yoplait yogurts. If you would like to see the full dataset, you can find it at ↩︎

  4. More about nibs later in the article! ↩︎

  5. Still skimping on the nibs though ↩︎

  6. The exact opposite of the Seventh-day Adventist Church which is run by old men and is happy to stop women from being equal in the church. ↩︎

Yogurt Tasting: An American Childhood

A Guest Piece by Micah Hall