Fage (pronounced fa-yeh) is now Greece’s biggest dairy company and produces fresh milk, cheese and yogurt for customers worldwide. It began in 1926 when Athanassios Filippou opened a small dairy that was known for its delicious Greek yogurt. In 1964, after much growth, the company opened its first yogurt-producing factory.
Fage has one of the most modern production facilities in Europe producing milk and milk products. They have state-of-the-art technology with a production capacity of 500 million pots of yogurt yearly. They also have a refrigerated warehouse with a capacity of 4,000 pallets, which is automated by robotics. The company is widely known for their unique straining processes, which gives Fage Total Yogurt its characteristic texture and taste. Fage is still a family-run business and has the motto: “We would never make a product that we would not give to our children”.
Fage began to export yogurt to the United States in 1998. The parent company Fage SA established the subsidiary Fage USA Corporation, in June of 2000, in order to import and promote Fage Total more extensively in the US market. Because of the company’s incredible success in the United States market, in February 2005, Fage USA Dairy Inc. was established so that a state-of-the-art production facility could be built in New York State.
The plant is a 120,000 square foot building on 22 acres of land and is located in Johnstown Industrial Park some 200 miles north of New York City. They invested $100 million dollars to produce Fage Total in a highly automated plant and technology in order to achieve the highest of standards in hygiene and safety. The entire plant is automated, which includes production, packaging and warehousing.
Fage Total is estimated to have about 2.4% of the total yogurt market in the United States, where the total market runs a little over $3 billion. Fage yogurt is distributed to specialty shops, natural or health food stores as well as supermarket chains across the US.
In the United States, Fage is produced in 0% fat and 2% fat in addition to the Total. One 8-ounce container of the 0% has 120 calories, 0 grams of fat, 9 grams of sugar, 20 grams of protein and 3% of the daily calcium requirement. One 8-ounce container of the 2% has 150 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 9 grams of sugar, 20 grams of protein and 20 % of the daily calcium requirement. The 8-ounce size of the Total has 300 calories, 23 grams fat, 7 grams of sugar, 15 grams of protein and 25 % of the daily calcium requirement.
Fage Total yogurt in 100% natural, containing no added sweeteners, thickeners or preservatives. Only raw ingredients, such as raw milk, raw cream and live active cultures, are used in the yogurt. No powdered milk, cream or proteins are used in the manufacturing process. Only milk and cream from farmers who never use rBGH (growth hormone) is ever used. The yogurt is made with a unique straining process and is gluten free, making it excellent as a source of protein for vegetarians, diabetics, pregnant women and individuals on gluten-free diets.
Choboni Greek Yogurt
Chobani means shepherd in the Turkish language. This delectable yogurt-line has been faithfully “shepherded” by an émigré and his family who make yogurt and feta in Turkey. They use the same classic techniques, which include triple straining, to make their Greek style yogurt in the United States. Chobani yogurt, made in Upstate New York, is one of thickest and most sour cream-like yogurts made.
Chobani yogurt, besides being extremely rich, smooth and creamy, is all natural and low in sugar. The plain non-fat variety is 100 calories per serving, while the fruit flavors, which are made with real fruit, are 140 calories. The milk used to make the yogurt is hormone-free. One 6-ounce container contains 14 grams of protein, which is double the amount of protein found in traditional American yogurts. It’s gluten free and kosher certified and is safe for people with soy, nut or corn allergies.
Mustafa Dogan is Chobani’s Master Yogurt Maker. He’s an artisan and has years of yogurt-making experience. Mustafa is responsible for creating the rich, deliciousness that makes Chobani unique.Mustafa custom blends special yogurt cultures especially for Chobani. His team then adds these to the milk that they receive daily from local farms. They then strain this yogurt to make it excessively creamy and extraordinary high in protein. It actually takes three pounds of milk to make one pound of Chobani yogurt.
Chobani yogurt comes in 6-ounce, 16-ounce and 32-ounce containers in 0% or 2% fat content. In addition to plain the 0% is available in honey, blueberry, raspberry, peach, pomegranate, strawberry and vanilla. You can purchase the 2% in plain, pineapple and strawberry. It’s available in specialty stores, grocery, natural or health food stores and supermarket chains across the US.
In addition to Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, which are required by USDA standards in producing yogurt, Chobani yogurt contains the probiotic cultures of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidus and Lactobacillus casei. Probiotics are beneficial in replenishing the natural live bacteria living in our digestive tract.
Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt
Gary Hirchberg, the CEO of Stonyfield Farm, which is based in Londonderry, New Hampshire, lived next door to a Greek family when he was a boy growing up in the state of New Hampshire. He and his siblings were treated with baklava and other delicious Greek foods. Years later, he traveled across Greece with his wife Meg to see Greek windmills and to sample Greek yogurt. Because he thought the taste was unforgettable he felt Americans were ready for the more traditional taste of this type of yogurt.
This passion for Greek yogurt caused him to bring together Stonyfield’s organic experts to create Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt. Gary says, “Because it’s organic, Oikos is better for the Earth and we think it’s better for you, too.”
Stonyfield Farm’s Greek yogurt is made by using a centuries-old straining method. This straining method removes the whey or liquid from the yogurt. Greek yogurt requires about three times more milk than regular yogurt, which makes it thicker and creamier.
Oikos is produced using fresh organic milk from the family farms. The fruit varieties are made using only organic fruits that are handpicked and prepared the same day to keep the freshest flavor. Five live active cultures are used, which include Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidus and Lactobacillus casei.
Oikos is the first certified organic Greek yogurt on the market, making it authentic in every way. Centuries ago Greek shepherds made yogurt and it didn’t contain rBST (rBGH) or pesticides, which are found in non-organic foods. All ingredients found in Oikos are organic and don’t contain, in addition to the artificial growth hormone, any antibiotics, chemical fertilizers, genetically modified organisms (GMO) or toxic pesticides. Oikos, because of its taste, creaminess, low lactose content and nutrition appeals to just about everyone, including chefs, athletes, dieters and lactose intolerant individuals.
Flavors include plain, strawberry, blueberry, honey, and vanilla. Besides the 5.3-ounce containers, they also can be bought in convenient 4-ounce 4-packs. Oikos can be found at specialty shops, natural or health food stores and supermarket chains.
Dannon Greek Yogurt
Dannon now has a line of Greek yogurt. It’s available in 5.3 oz containers in blueberry, strawberry, vanilla, honey and plain. The plain is also available in 1 pound containers. It’s made with a traditional Greek-strained process.
The plain yogurt contains non-fat milk and active yogurt cultures but the company doesn’t state that the milk used is growth hormone free. It has no added sugar. The flavored ones have added sugar and modified corn starch. For those seeking to stay away from GMOs keep this in mind as both sugar beets and non-organic corn contain GMOs.
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