Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Onken Fat Free Strawberry Yogurt review

If you enjoy eating Onken’s Strawberry Fat Free yogurt on a regular basis, you may have noticed something's changed. Onken are in the process of replacing artificial sweeteners in their fat free range of yogurts with sugar. The Strawberry Fat Free flavour appears to be the first to have undergone this transformation.

If you don't spot the note on the label, you're bound to notice the difference in taste. Even before I'd swallowed the the first spoonful, I knew something was up.

Sure enough, when inspecting the front of the pot, there it was. The NEW! sign. ‘NEW Without Artificial Sweeteners’. This may bring a sigh of relief to those who hold a mistrust of sugar substitutes. But for me, this signals one thing. More calories.

This is an inevitable consequence of adding sugar to anything. So replacing a sugar substitute with real sugar can only boost the calorie content. New Onken Strawberry Fat Free now has 79 calories per 100g instead of 53 calories. There is also an alteration to the taste, though it still has a lovely strawberry flavour with the same creamy texture.

After contacting Onken as to why they decided to put sugar in their fat free Strawberry, this is what they replied:

‘… customer feedback was a large part of the decision to replace the artificial sweeteners with sugar in this product. The decision to make the change across all three Fat Free Onken products was due to the overwhelming negative response to artificial sweeteners in our recipes coupled with recent Mintel customer research that told us that people are looking for more natural yogurts. We believe that the quality of the product has improved as a result of the recipe and I am sorry to hear that you do not share this view. 

We have also re-launched our Fat Free Onken packaging with a flash on the front of pack to highlight this change to our customers and we also show the new calorie content in a lozenge on the side of pack too.’

So there you have it. Sugar may be more natural, but whether or not it has improved the quality really depends on your own opinion of sweeteners versus sugar. I’d prefer they left the sugar out completely (if they want to abandon artificial sweeteners altogether) and left it up to the consumer to add their own sweetener if they wished.

Here’s a look at how the nutrition has changed:
 

Fat Free Strawberry without Sugar
per 100g
Fat Free Strawberry with Sugar
per 100g
Calories
53
79
Protein
4.9g
4.5g
Carbohydrates
7.9g
13.4g
Sugars
7.4g
12.8g
Fat
0.1g
0.1g
Saturates
0.1g
0.1g
Fibre
0.2g
0.3g
Sodium
0.08g
0.07g
Calcium
127mg
123mg

And here are the ingredients, before and after:

Added Ingredients (New recipe): Strawberries 10%, Sugar, Corn Starch, Natural Colouring (Concentrated Carrot Juice and Beetroot Juice), Thickeners (Pectins, Guar Gum), Natural Flavouring.

Added Ingredients (Old recipe): Strawberries (7.9%), Fructose, Modified Tapioca Starch, Black Carrot and Beetroot Extract, Thickeners (Pectin, Guar Gum), Acidity Regulator (Sodium Citrate), Sweeteners (Acesulfame-K, Sucralose).

As with all the Onken yogurt range, the New Fat Free Strawberry yogurt contains Live Probiotic Cultures inside – Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium longum and Live Cultures inside – Streptococcus thermophilus.  So if you’re looking for a fat free yogurt without artificial sweeteners, then Onken’s range of Fat Free Yogurts are definitely worth a try. They're widely available in major supermarkets and are suitable for vegetarians.

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