Who’s the froyoest of them all?

Published: March 9, 2012

PHOTO: SAIRA MALIK

Until some years ago, I reckoned ice cream to be the best thing to happen to this world. But that was of course, until the obsession with healthier alternatives took over (and yeah I grew up too!). Here is where frozen yogurt entered my universe; the healthier treat with the consistency of soft serve ice cream, but having fewer calories, fat and perhaps sugar too. And I realize how delightful an experience it is to indulge in the relatively guilt-free goodness of frozen yogurt.

The dilemma, however, is that the local market is still in its nascent stage, and there are only, but a couple of places, at carefully chosen geographically dispersed locations, offering this nutritious treat. The good news is that the scene is evolving and more stores and brands are expected to enter the milieu. In fact, as awareness and demand grows, I even foresee full service restaurants integrating frozen yogurt into their menu. My dream, of having ‘froyo’ on my terms, when I want it and where I want it, inches even closer to reality.

Global trends testify, that there will never be such a thing as too many frozen yogurt places. Given the low barriers to entry in the froyo industry, new entrepreneurs will be flocking to this business. Yet, the increase in the demand is expected to smoothly absorb the enhanced supply.

Even the three existing outlets, in Karachi, have their own niches without really infringing upon each other’s market share. ‘Berrylicious’, at Park Towers, introduced frozen yogurt in Karachi a couple of months ago. Next came ‘Upper Crust’, which is actually a bakery plus café that has frozen yogurt on its menu. The latest entrant in the market is SNOG, which is a UK-based frozen yogurt franchise store. As much as one would like to frequent the places, the location of Upper Crust and SNOG in the midst of a bustling shopping hub like Zamzama is not as accessible due to traffic congestion and parking woes. Berrylicious on the other hand, is rather conveniently located inside Park Towers. However, SNOG’s Zamzama outlet with its most adorable décor and colourful lighting is a hit with kids. Also, SNOG has another outlet opening at Dolmen City Mall in another month, which will improve its accessibility.

While Berrylicious strictly serves only frozen yogurt, SNOG also has parfaits and smoothies on its menu. Berrylicious is a more on-the-go kind of thing that you pick up and enjoy while strolling around the mall. SNOG however, is a place that one would like to sit down at and take in the ambience, while enjoying their froyo. Personally, I miss the option of hot beverages like coffee and hot chocolate on the menu. Upper Crust being a café has this edge over SNOG with its extensive product offerings. Having said that, I must also highlight that Upper Crust only offers two flavours of froyo everyday, and while it began with offering fresh fruits as toppings, it does not anymore and has only toppings like sugar sprinkles, melon seeds and dried raspberry & apple. Berrylicious offers four flavours everyday and has a variety of canned and fresh fruits, but SNOG takes the cake here with its six flavor choices and an elaborate array of tempting toppings ranging from fruits, granola and nuts to cookies and brownies.

Upper Crust’s froyo, somewhat mimics the taste of ice cream; in flavours like Belgian chocolate and blueberry, the added flavor overpowers that of the yogurt and its difficult to tell whether its ice cream or froyo. SNOG’s froyo on the other hand has a primarily tart flavor with a hint of sweetness that comes from organic agave nectar. In the flavoured versions, yogurt maintains the dominant tang with a subtle yet reasonable presence of the added flavor.  Berrylicious also has more of a yogurty flavor, but with a stronger presence of the added flavor. So, all the three outlets actually cater to different palates.

SNOG and Upper Crust claim that from the yogurt being cultured to the fruit being pureed, the entire process of making frozen yogurt is in-house, organic and mix-free. On the contrary, Berrylicious imports its mix from California and adds it to locally cultured yogurt in preparation of the frozen yogurt.

Price-wise, Berrlylicious is a winner with its two cup sizes priced at Rs 140 and Rs 240, with toppings priced between RS 20 to Rs 40. Upper Crust also has two cup sizes priced at Rs 160 and Rs 320 with each topping costing Rs 40 each. SNOG has four cup sizes: little, classic, big & massive, with prices ranging between Rs 340 and Rs 1300. The toppings are charged at Rs 50 each. SNOG’s Little cup is on a par with Upper Crust’s large; therefore the two somewhat fall in the same league. However, since SNOG’s starting point is rather steep, an individual wholesome treat from SNOG may actually remain an occasional luxury. Perhaps a smaller serving size to match those of Berrylicious and Upper Crust would yield more traffic for SNOG.

Following is a summary of the comparison:

 

Ambience

Flavour Choices

Toppings Variety

Price

Menu Choices

Location

Berrylicious

Good

Good

Excellent

Excellent

Upper Crust

Good

Good

Excellent

SNOG

Excellent

Excellent

Excellent

Good

*

*expected to improve after second outlet opens at Dolmen City Mall.
I am not comparing the taste of the three froyos here because that’s really a matter of personal choice and varies from palate to palate.

The addiction-prone treat does leave one wondering if it actually is as healthy as it seems. While froyo is low in calories and fat and high in calcium, it does still contain sugar or sugar substitutes. It is important to portion it efficiently and opt for healthier toppings. The intake of sugar-free ones should also be monitored and the health content of the dessert should be preserved without going overboard on extra toppings. Moderation is the key to retain the health-related advantages.

Saira Malik

Saira Malik

A finance professional turned food enthusiast, media observer and freelance writer. She blogs at jill-ofalltrades.blogspot.com and tweets @MalikSaira

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Parvez

    Impressed, not so much by the frozen yogurt but by the amount of stuff you managed to put out on the subject. Think the prices quoted are pretty steep.Recommend

  • Awais Ch

    HmmmmmRecommend

  • Nabeel D

    Berrylicious FTW!!!Recommend

  • Muhammad Ehsan Elahi

    Recently,, in coming days. Gourmet Foods & Beverages, a leading food chain in lahore is also going to lauch frozen yougurt. I have tasted the test trials. its really awesome. :-)Recommend

  • Icydevil

    All the people living in Lahore, Islamabad, Faisalabad should try Froyos at the Tutti Frutti outlets. They are really good!Recommend

  • farhan

    loll your love for this speaks volume. A very impressive research detailed with diagrams. Woww~~BravoRecommend

  • Anonymous

    Dear Writer,

    You are in for a good surprise by mid April :)Recommend

  • Saira

    @Anonymous:
    Looking forward.. :))Recommend