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Apr 28, 2011 10:30 AM

Frozen yogurt - why all the buzz around town?

The Globe did a piece this week on frozen yogurt as if it's some recent invention, and the Herald a few weeks back did one questioning the buzz and claiming that it really got started back in 1994.

In fact it goes back much further than that - one of my roommates worked at a frozen yogurt shop in Harvard Square in 1972 (I can't think of the name, but it was where TeaLuxe is now, if I remember correctly).

Why does everyone seem to think it's something new and exciting?

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  1. Well, no one actually does: the Globe is actually way the hell late on jumping on this particular bandwagon. There have been Asian-influenced frozen yogurt (I really despise the term "froyo," which is just revoltingly cutesy) places in the Boston area for several years at this point. Why the hype right now, I have no idea, other than the fact that Pinkberry, who started the current trend, has opened shops here recently.

    Regardless, the current mode of frozen yogurt place is much different from the places that were around in the '70s. The product today is decidedly tart and therefore actually tastes like yogurt, unlike what you used to get at places like TCBY. The aforementioned Asian influence -- Pinkberry was opened by a Korean-American couple in 2005 -- comes in yogurt flavors like lychee, taro, and green tea, as well as the option to mix in popular Asian sweets like jelly noodles or lychees. Again, the TCBY I went to in South Plains Mall in the mid-80s didn't have those things.

    So basically, no, frozen yogurt isn't new in general, and Asian-style frozen yogurt isn't new in particular.

    1. yes, BobB there was indeed a frozen yogurt shop in Harvard Square very close to where TeaLuxe is now. I enjoyed it frequently when I came up for college in 1973. There was also more vegetarian food served in the square then than there is now. Some trends cycle.....

      1. It's not a new thing, no one thinks it's a new thing. Journalists like writing trend pieces.

        1. bob, maybe you didn't see that section of the Globe piece but it has a specific window that mentions the owner of JPLicks introducing the product in the long ago, only to have it bomb because public taste wasn't there yet. I'm guessing your question is really rhetorical,because i know you have seen many other trends get reborn in different packaging. I'm also going to guess that the market for this product is particularly weighted in the teens and 20 somethings age groups, for whom this product(flavors and toppings and marketed in the ways it is) IS a new thing.

          3 Replies
          1. re: opinionatedchef

            Yeah, this is just me getting in one of my senile moods. These kids today think they invented everything! ;-)

            1. re: BobB

              yep i know just where you are w/ that. But then think of this- WE thought we invented some things too,yes? and in the food world, this story goes on and on through history. Always remember>> Polenta= Grits.

              1. re: opinionatedchef

                Long gone are the days when I could get some Columbo brand frozen yogurt at Subway after a meatball sub.

          2. It isn't. Remember TCBY and other chains? And all the soft serve places around? (Of which the best is Kell's Kreme on Revere Beach.)

            The real issue is NE eats a lot of ice cream. I believe it is the highest amount per capita of any US region. So this is an excuse to talk about what people love.

            Kell's Kreme
            1201 Broadway, Saugus, MA 01906

            3 Replies
            1. re: lergnom

              that statistic would be so interesting to investigate further, comparing regional consumption by season.
              maybe we eat more to get through the winter season with more smiles? and/or maybe our italian community, with its great gelato heritage, has something to do w/ the high consumption rate.

              1. re: lergnom

                Actually I believe that's a local urban legend - there are quite a few places in the US that like to claim they are the biggest ice cream consumers in the country.

                According to this site (can't vouch for its validity), the north central states are actually highest per capita, and among cities, Boston doesn't even make the top three.


                1. re: BobB

                  well, if that is true, it might lend creedence to my 'getting through the looooong winters w/ more smiles' theory.