Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Target and Freshii Expand Test Market to California

Fro-yo girl here. Frozen yogurt is everywhere, from large cities to small towns it’s a global phenomenon. Frozen kefir, like yogurt, is a cultured milk product, but it's relatively hard to find (though that could soon be changing - read on). Both contain live and active cultures. Kefir has a higher probiotic count and more types of probiotic bacteria though and the consistency tends to be thinner (it’s often sold as a drink). Kefir contains beneficial yeasts that yogurt does not.

Lifeway describes the difference between yogurt and kefir as: “Lifeway Kefir contains 12 live and active probiotic cultures and is fermented for 14-18 hours after pasteurization. This results in more CFU per serving (7-10 billion) compared to most other commercially available cultured dairy products, including yogurt. The probiotic activity is what produces kefir’s signature fizz, which is why we delightfully refer to it as the Champagne of Dairy!”

The few times that I’ve had frozen kefir, it had an icier texture. It was tangy and tasted like frozen yogurt but the texture wasn’t as pleasing. Granted, so few places offer frozen kefir that the machine settings might have been responsible for the iciness but from what I’ve experienced, frozen yogurt is better than frozen kefir – though the taste is similar the texture of frozen yogurt is superior. I’d say that frozen kefir doesn’t taste as good as the best frozen yogurt but it doesn’t taste different enough from yogurt to make a difference to the consumer. However, if the consumer understands and cares that kefir is healthier than yogurt, it might make a difference for a segment of frozen yogurt consumers. Right now it’s difficult to find frozen kefir other than at the supermarket but that could change.

Target and Freshii announced a partnership late last year. Target is rebranding some of its cafes (it's unclear how many will be remodeled and rebranded) with Freshii opening locations in nine test markets in Chicago and Minneapolis. California will be the next test market for Freshii. With 1,700 Target stores with cafes, you could be seeing frozen kefir 

much closer to you. Update: The Freshii inside the Target on Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena, CA is open but it doesn't have frozen kefir. Froyo is on the menu (though the machine wasn't ready to serve any during my visit).

I spotted a Freshii inside the Old Town Pasadena location and it looks like it's about to open. The soft serve machine was there and frozen kefir was on the menu.

Lifeway’s Starfruit Café serves frozen kefir in the Chicago area. Freshii switched from frozen yogurt to frozen kefir at some locations last summer, including in the Chicago area. Some Argo Tea locations in Chicago offer Lifeway frozen kefir.

Other frozen kefir purveyors outside of Chicago include:
  • deKefir: 333 Bay St., Toronto, Canada
  • Swirls Frozen Kefir, Unit 195A SM Mall of Asia JW Diokno Blvd., Pasay, Pasay City, Philippines
  • Vanilla Jill’s, 298 Blair Blvd., Eugene, OR
Treat Petite was a frozen kefir shop in New York City that closed in 2012.

Lifeway’s frozen kefir products are distributed in the US, Canada, and the UK and can be found using the store locator: http://lifewaykefir.com/where-to-buy/

Babushka produces frozen kefir and is available at markets in Australia: http://babushkaskefir.com.au/find-us/

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

Looking for more frozen yogurt news, discussion boards, and resources? Check out the International Frozen Yogurt Association website at http://internationalfrozenyogurt.com/. The IFYA is the independent voice of the frozen yogurt industry.

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