Stonyfield Replaces Cream Top Yogurt with Homogenized Abomination

Note the subtle differences in the packaging of the old "Cream Top" yogurt and the new "Smooth and Creamy yogurt

After finishing the last tub of Stonyfield Cream Top yogurt earlier this week, I opened the first tub of Stonyfield Whole Milk “smooth and creamy” yogurt.  I hadn’t noticed the subtle changes in the packaging when I was at the store earlier this week.  Just like no one expects the Spanish Inquisition, no one expected Stonyfield to change the wonderful yogurt they’d been making for the last 27 years.  The change dawned on me as I pulled off the plastic lid and saw the foil seal that said, “We’ve stirred in the cream ….to make our creamiest, smoothest whole milk yogurt ever.”  And then in big red letters:  “You’re  going to love it.”   Umm.  No.  I’m not.  The inside of the foil goes on with the hard sell of the new formula:   “Ever since we began making yogurts, the debate has raged:  should we let that creamy layer rise to the top or stir it in?  It was always a tossup, but after 27 years of cream on top, we and a bunch of customers tried it the other way.  We were all blown away by how delicious it is.  And you will be too.  Enjoy!”  This note is signed “Gary” [Hirshberg], the CEO of Stonyfield.   Nice sentence structure, by the way.   The changes on the actual tub are subtle:   big letters saying “Cream Top” were gone and replaced with bigger letters that say “Whole Milk”.  There is also a little blurb on the package  that says “tastes Creamier than ever”.    I didn’t notice this at the store.  If I had, I wouldn’t have purchased it.  I look carefully to make sure that I’m buying whole milk yogurt and to be sure that I’m not buying the cloyingly sweet vanilla flavor, but I didn’t think I’d have to watch out for this.  I’d written twice on this very blog last February here and here about my love for the cream top yogurt and my unhappiness on one occasion settling for low-fat when the store was out of whole milk cream top and on the other trying Whole Foods own yogurt when cream top was sold out.  In neither case did I find a winner.

So somehow Stonyfield has been making their yogurt wrong for the better part of three decades?  And they were SELLING it?  And they just realized this now?  Unlikely.  It’s also not so benign as that they are just “stirring in the cream”.  They’re using homogenized milk.  Which I do not want.  I’m guessing Gary saw a bunch of dollar signs either relating to changing suppliers or due to changing their manufacturing process.  However this went down, I’m sure it is more about money than it is about taste or producing a quality product.   Who knows if this taste test really ever took place?  Even if it did, were they really blown away by “how delicious it is”, or did they just figure they could pass off this slop and get by on their name?

Stonyfield’s website (I’m not linking on purpose as it’s easy enough to find) has more of the same hard-sell.  The website encouraged me to leave a comment about the new product.  I did, and this is the disingenuous response that I received:

Hello Ann ,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We’re always happy to get
comments and questions from our yogurt lovers and are grateful when someone
takes the time to let us know what they think of our Company and products.

We appreciate your passion for the cream on top and you’re not alone – ever
since we started, we’ve been hearing the debate: should we let that creamy
layer rise to the top or stir it in? It was always a tossup, and after 27
years of cream on top, we’ve decided to stir things up. The cream you love
is still there, only now the yogurt is smoother, creamier, and we think,
even more delicious. We appreciate what an amazingly loyal Stonyfield whole
milk yogurt buyer you are and we’re sorry our new cup disappoints you. We
sincerely hope you’ll continue to give us a try.

Sincerely,

The folks at Stonyfield

First of all, loyalty, my ass!  But I digress.  I’m sure that form letter was crafted before the smooth and creamy abomination ever hit the shelves.  I can’t imagine they didn’t think there would be a backlash.  I just don’t know how big it is, and whether or not they are managing to convince former cream top customers to continue to buy this homogenized and inferior product.  I know that if I hadn’t cared about buying something that was unhomogenized, I wouldn’t have been shelling out Stonyfield sized dollars for an average of a little over a tub of 32 ounce plain yogurt per week.  Do the math.  That adds up to real money if I stop buying their products and thousands of others do the same.   It also looks like they’re pushing coupons harder than ever as well as sponsoring giveaways such as the one on this blog where it isn’t even clear to me that the blogger loves the product and where her content is mostly cribbed from the Stonyfield site.   I don’t know that she was compensated, but this reeks of paid blogging to me.  And I see no disclosure notice.

I do not want this yogurt and I am not alone.  I found this anonymous comment #32 on a thread at wisegeek:

I asked Stonyfield why they discontinued their wonderful plain whole milk yogurt, that had the cream settled on the top. They said, it was debated, and was a toss-up, so they decided to change it. (Why, if it was a toss-up?) I asked how they kept the cream from rising to the top. They said they homogenized it. I will not buy their yogurt anymore.
– anon142926

I also found this thread started by a woman who goes by the screen name of “beaglemommy” over at Mothering.com.  No one who posted on that thread wrote anything like, “The new smooth and creamy yogurt is the most delicious yet!”  Or even expressed the thought that maybe it was o.k., acceptable.  Comments range between disappointment and outrage.  Which is really just angrier disappointment.   With permission, here is her original post:

posted 01/24/2011 

I recently purchased some Stonyfield plain, whole milk yogurt as I have done many times in the past. As I was opening it, I read the label on top (under the plastic lid), “We’ve stirred in the cream …to make our creamiest, smoothest whole-milk yogurt ever. You’re going to love it!”
Um, I’m NOT going to love the only consistently available non-homogenized dairy now homogenized! And in such a sneaky way. I could not read that portion of the label until after I purchased it. The rest of the packaging looks much the same as it always has. Now that I am studying the label, it does not say “cream top” as it used to. Is there any other explanation other than they are now homogenizing it? It doesn’t smell bad, but the top of the yogurt in the container looks bubbly and nasty.
This container will be going back to Kroger. 

Anyone else noticed this?

The observation about the top of the yogurt in the container looking bubbly and nasty is right on.  I’ve already mentioned the VERY subtle differences in the old and new packaging for the old and new products.   While I’m not going to take my yogurt back to Woodman’s as she was going to return hers to Kroger, I will absolutely not be buying any more Stonyfield products.  Stonyfield also has a canned response for those who complain that the yogurt is now homogenized:
“Thanks for contacting us with your concerns about the homogenized milk in
our whole-milk yogurts. Scientific research tells us homogenized milk is no
less healthy than unhomogenized milk. 

In the 1970s, a researcher named Kurt Oster theorized that an increase in
coronary heart disease was caused by homogenized milk, which was introduced
in the 1930s and 1940s. Research done in the 1980s, however, refuted
Oster’s theory. If you’d like to read more about the topic, check out the
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the Journal of Dairy Science.

Thanks again for contacting us, and please don’t hesitate to drop us
another line. We’d love to hear from you again.

Sincerely,

The folks at Stonyfield

Get free yogurt and green goods. Sign up at MyStonyfieldRewards.com

Clifford AJ, et al: Homogenized bovine milk xanthine oxidase: a critique of
the hypothesis relating to plasmalogen depletion and cardiovascular
disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 1983 Aug;38(2):327-32.

Deeth HC: Homogenized milk and atherosclerotic disease: a review. J Dairy
Sci. 1983 Jul;66(7):1419-35.”

Wow!  Citations!  Both from 1983 and narrowly focused on cardiovascular disease.  Like there isn’t any other reason to choose a product that is not homogenized over one that is. Color me impressed.  Connecting another couple of dots, 1983 is 28 years ago, so this information was available before Stonyfield even started making yogurt and still they didn’t choose to use homogenized milk until now?  And we’re supposed to believe that this just the result of a coin toss?  That just lacks credibility.   I suppose whether or not homogenized milk is unhealthy is open to debate, but I guess I’d look a little more widely for information than the references to the Clifford and Deeth papers that Stonyfield provided.  To me, it may be a matter of health, but it is also certainly a matter of texture and taste.  As they point out, homogenization has only been with us since the 1930’s or 1940’s.  I believe in eating  foods as close to their natural state as possible and to me homogenization is an unnecessary and therefore undesirable step.
At first I ranted about this on my Facebook wall.  This resulted in a long and entertaining thread that actually mentioned Oreos and Fruity Pebbles more than yogurt.  I figured I might be in for making my own yogurt since I can and do buy unhomogenized milk.  I wasn’t really looking forward to that, but one of my friends also posted this awesome device for controlling the temperature of a slow cooker in order to use it to make yogurt.  I’d do that if I had too.  I almost want to just for the tinkering challenge.  I probably won’t though because on my weekly trip to buy dairy and produce at Willy West I found that they carry two kinds of cream top yogurt:  Brown Cow and Sugar River Dairy.  Neither of these are organic, but neither are the cows treated with hormones.  Someone on the thread at Mothering pointed out that Brown Cow is owned by Stonyfield.  Sugar River’s website says that they use “single source milk”.   They are also local.  While I will finish the Stonyfield that I have,  I will then try Sugar River’s yogurt.  I expect it will be good.  I’m lucky here in Madison.  Beaglemommy says she can’t get any other cream top yogurt locally.  She’s considering planning monthly trips to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s which are 100 miles away from her.  It’s either that or resorting to making her own yogurt.
Back to the original Stonyfield problem, I’m sure anyone who writes to them to complain can look forward to receiving one of the patronizing responses above.  Apparently the only thing they understand is money.  So vote with yours.  Let their products spoil on the shelves.  Maybe then they will “hear” their (possibly former) customers.
****Recently I wondered why so many people are still reading this post even though it is so old.  I note today (March 30, 2011) that some time between the date of my original post and now, that Stonyfield appears to have removed all mention of Cream Top Yogurt from their website.  It appears to me that their P.R. Campaign to sell this yucky, new homogenized product to former Cream Top customers may not be going so well.  I have no idea if they may be motivated to bring Cream Top back or whether they’ll just drop whole milk yogurts altogether in favor of highly sweetened, higher profit margin products.  If you want Cream Top back, keep writing to them.  At this time, the only mention of the Smooth and Creamy [Homogenized] Yogurt being a new product is this press release dated January 20, 2011.  It’s almost like we live in a world where Stonyfield Cream Top Whole Milk Yogurt never existed.****
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73 Responses to Stonyfield Replaces Cream Top Yogurt with Homogenized Abomination

  1. Susan says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one outraged! I’m old enough I shouldn’t be disappointed in companies anymore, yet I am.
    Nicely written post.

  2. Peggy says:

    I’m sure it’s about profit. Hopefully it will be like New Coke and there will be enough of a backlash that they’ll bring back the old formula. And then everyone in B-school can use it as a case study for the next 10 years.

  3. Aster says:

    Another blog that I read about this agrees that it is about profit and says that consumers only have themselves to blame since most people would rather buy food-like products rather than actually food. That blog mentioned Stonyfield’s Facebook post. I hadn’t seen that before I wrote this post since I don’t “like” large corporations on FB whether I love their products or not. And it’s true the array of “yogurt” products is dizzying if you look around at a place like Woodman’s or even Willy. This is just another thing I won’t be able to buy at Woodman’s. They didn’t have any milk or eggs that I would buy and all the meat we eat comes directly from Jordandal or Hawks Hill except for the occasional package of Johnsonville breakfast sausage. I hope you’re right about the B-school theory.

  4. Tara says:

    I just noticed this today and was astonished that a change like this would happen. I started making my own yogurt (due to cost) and was always dismayed I couldn’t get it creamy like their yogurt, then I noticed in their ingredients PECTIN… so, fake creaminess, but I STILL always loved having their yogurt on occasion BECAUSE of the cream on top… well, now I have no reason whatsoever to waste my money on stonyfield again.

  5. Aster says:

    Hi Tara,

    Thanks for stopping by. Sorry you share in our collective discontent. Like you, I’ve noticed that they use Pectin as well. I don’t know that it accounted for fake creaminess in the cream top, but certainly fake thickness. Tomorrow morning, I’ll be opening my first tub of Sugar River Dairy Yogurt. Sugar River uses no pectin, but it appears they thicken with nonfat dry milk, so oxidized cholesterol about which I am also not crazy. I’ve noticed that I do have few more options for non-homogenized cream top, so I may not have found my yogurt yet. I’ll see if I ultimately move on to making my own. Eventually I certainly may if we ever move to our farm full time and I get goats…

  6. Susanna says:

    I too am disappointed at the creamy top variety being discontinued. I kept looking and looking again at the supermarket nearly duped on several occasions by the similarly packaged homogenized variety which replaced the lovely Cream Top. When something is good and has a loyal following it is wrongful to take it away. With this confirmed now I guess I can stop looking and let the harsh reality sink in.

  7. asher swing says:

    i am so glad you are writing about this, that cream top yoghurt was one of my few guilty pleasures in life, and now it’s gone, maybe we should all collectively petition stonyfield to bring it back, coca cola made a mistake with coke in the 1980s, hopefully we can convince stonyfield they did the same

  8. Aster says:

    Asher, Thanks for stopping by. I hope Stonyfield brings Cream Top back for those who have no other good option for Cream Top yogurt, especially regional options. No matter what they do, I am done with them. I’m now eating Sugar River Dairy’s Cream Top yogurt which is made less than 50 miles from where I live. The sad truth, is that I believe Stonyfield will either make a go of it with their new product, or they’ll drop the whole milk yogurt, which could be flavored by the consumer at will, entirely in favor of more and more processed and sweetened products. They have to show Danone Group (which owns more than 80% of Stonyfield) a huge profit on a regular basis.

  9. karen says:

    I too am very upset that I have to replace the two 32 oz containers I buy a week with the only other brand that makes Cream on Top (Brown Cow Yogurt). This does not make me happy as it is not organic. Why in the world would they take a product that few others make off of the shelves. They have cornered the market in it as I can get it organic nowhere else!! Bad decision and bad marketing on Stonyfield’s part!!! I hope they are getting lots of e-mail and phone complaints! Bring Back my beloved CREAM ON TOP yogurt. It tasted so much better!

  10. Aster says:

    Karen & Asher too, write them, email or call. I did and I got the sort of response you see up above, but maybe if they tally up enough responses AND if sales falls for the new product MAYBE they will bring back Cream Top. I can tell you that as old as this post is, people are still reading it EVERY DAY since I wrote it. Many, many more people than the number who leave comments.

  11. Jenna says:

    If there was a debate of whether to mix it in or leave it on top why wouldn’t you just leave it on top and leave the option up to the person eating it!!! Once you mix it in you can’t un-mix it!!!! The people who like to mix it in can do that their self. Me and my boyfriend love cream top and we were very upset when this happened and haven’t bought stonyfield since! : (

    If you leave it on top both parties are happy!!!

  12. matiere grasse says:

    At first I thought I had left the yogurt in the back of the refrigerator too long when I saw the groady looking bubbles across the top. I checked the expiration date and then took a closer look at the label. Talk about befuddlement and disappointment! (story of my life) It’s funny how some of the little things in life can bring one so much contentment. In a competitive market differentiation is a strength. What marketing genius used an unscientific survey to make a decision based on a “tossup” to produce a product that looks like it has already turned when you first open it and tastes very similar to the competition? In an age where most people are looking for a low or no fat product the cream-on-top taste, texture and sensuousness gave one a reason to anticipate breaking from one’s diet with a yummy satisfaction that it would be worth it, that one could make up for it by eating less of something else. “Homogenized” is so apt when you decide to make something similar to everyone else. Besides feeling a bit betrayed there is no other Stonyfield product that I like. I am sure I am not alone in that.

    I have recently started eating a Greek yogurt product called Chobani. It has no fat, twice the protein of regular yogurt and a creamy texture that is very satisfying. Much of the taste with none of the potential guilt. It seems to be coming on strong in m area. I can see Stonyfield losing market share to them.

  13. Aster says:

    Very interesting to me that more than one commenter has mentioned “potential guilt” or referred to whole milk cream top yogurt as a “guilty pleasure”. As far as I’m concerned, whole milk cream top yogurt is a healthy food. I stopped buying the government’s “low fat” and “non-fat” dairy advice long ago. I consume two servings of full fat dairy (one yogurt) and one small glass vat-pasteurized milk because raw milk is essentially unavailable with no increase in weight or any other ill effects over the past two years. I’m puzzled by the fact that consumers still buy into low and non-fat dairy which I’d essentially consider junk food and recommend reading either of Gary Taubes’ books.

  14. Ex-Stonyfield Loyalist says:

    I completely agree – great post. I am no longer a Stonyfield customer!

  15. Aster says:

    Ex-Stonyfield Loyalist, Thanks for reading. Have you found some good options in your neck of the woods since Stonyfield is off your table too? I hope so.

  16. Greg says:

    Ah, so I’m not the only one! Glad to know I’m not just an old crank. I was particularly disappointed when confronted with “smooth and creamy” because it meant I could no longer skim off the top for later use as a fair substitute for the French “crème fraiche” (made a nice occasional dessert), to be left with a lower-fat version to grace my daily breakfast. Sad as it makes me to abandon a product made in my own state of New Hampshire, I think that is what I’ll do. The upside is that there’s a farm down the road that sells organic, non-homogenized yogurt made from the milk of their own cows (honor system, too – big fridge outside their door). Costs an arm and a leg, but evidently you get what you pay for. I wonder if the change had anything to do with the Danone merger a few years ago? New marketing types and bean counters on board?

    Anyway, that’s my rant and I’m sticking to it! One more thing – was pectin always one of the ingredients? I wasn’t aware of it before at any rate.

  17. Aster says:

    Hi Greg, good point about the “creme fraiche” substitute. Cool that you found something close even if it is expensive. At least the money that you spend there is probably also being spent in your local economy by neighbors! I’m sure it had everything to do with the Danone merger and I believe though I don’t recall which business publication it was mentioned this in an article years ago.

    I don’t know if pectin was ALWAYS there, but it was in the cream top for at least a couple of years. The yogurt that I buy now (locally produced) has a bit of dried milk in it. I think almost all commercial produces do something to thicken their yogurt because the lumpy, runnier home made yogurt might not be attractive to consumers.

  18. I’M SO MAD ABOUT THIS! My husband just brought some of this slop home, and I tried really really really hard to like it, but I’m off stony field from now on. It seems I’ll have to go out of my way and buy brown cow. (That means taking the subway to grocery shop) I’m so glad I found this post, I feel totally ripped of and cheated by this change.

  19. I just found out that stonyfield acquired brown cow in 2003! (look at the wikipedia page for brown cow) So, that means that they don’t really care if people switch– however, I HOPE this means that if a grocery store gets stoneyfield, it won’t be such a big deal for them to get some brown cow too. (?) (but I doubt it at this point) Well I’ll keep drumming on my local grocer about how this yogurt isn’t really “cream top” and maybe he’ll start getting brown cow. I feel so cheated and locked out. As soon as something good come to my local grocer– it gets RUINED. I was so happy during the two weeks that my local grocer had cream top. I and a few other, ***cleared it off the shelf*** in just a few days. Then the grocer never got it again for three weeks. I complained and he gets this “whole milk” crap. I may need to print this blog post to show him what’s going on.

    If I have to take a subway to get yogurt it wastes two hours of my time AND costs me about $4 … $8 if my husband comes along. So I’m not upset about “nothing” — this makes my grocery bill go up– or I can settle and pay the same price for a decidedly INFERIOR product.

    (and if I make the subway trip the same company gets my money any way.)

    I think I’ll buy a yogurt maker… and get off this merry-go round.

  20. Aster says:

    Susan, so, so sorry. I’ve been eating Sugar River Yogurt which is local to here ever since this happened. Glad the post answered your question. I know that Brown Cow is Stonyfield owned. I mentioned it toward the end of the post. I hope you find a solution to your yogurt problem whether it is another cream top product or making your own yogurt. The subway fare definitely increases the price beyond an acceptable level.

  21. jeanne says:

    i just wrote to them, and then thought to look for blog posts, and here was yours. everything you said about the yogurt is true, and it all sucks. i have another thought, other than homogenization. i’ve been reading about meat glue, where they add the enzyme transglutaminase, and it makes everything creamy. they’re using it in cheeses and yogurts to make them creamier.

    see this article = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transglutaminase

    nobody has to list this addition at this time, and they’ve been using it for years, so it seems likely to me that stonyfield could have switched to something a bit more diabolical than pasteurized milk.

  22. jeanne says:

    i got an immediate response from them, even on a saturday night. my impression is that they don’t care if i don’t like it.

    “Hello Jeanne,

    Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We’re always happy to get
    comments and questions from our yogurt lovers and are grateful when someone takes the time to let us know what they think of our Company and products.

    We sincerely hope you will give our new product a try. We think it’s
    smoother and more delicious and truly hope you will too. If you send us
    your mailing address, we’d be happy to send you coupons so you can give it
    a try and let us know what you think. And, if you really don’t like the new
    product, we’ll understand.

    We’re also really proud of Brown Cow – it is the same recipe it’s been
    since 1979, and it’s produced by a wonderful group out in California. Brown
    Cow offers a variety of all natural cream on top flavors to try
    (www.browncowfarm.com). For an organic cream top, you can try our longtime friends Jack and Anne at Butterworks Organic. They make a great product too. Here is their site to find out if there are stores offering
    Butterworks near you: http://www.butterworksfarm.com

    Sincerely,

    The folks at Stonyfield

    Earn rewards like free yogurt and green goods at MyStonyfieldRewards.com”

  23. jeanne says:

    ps, i find it pretty disingenuous to be telling me to contact butterworks to see if there’s a store near me, when they only sell it in vermont. and there are no stores that sell brown cow in this part of the southeast.

    i’m making my own.

  24. Pingback: Man, commercial yogurt is JUNK! | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page 3

  25. Wanda says:

    Folks at Stonyfield,
    I want creamy top plain yogurt back! End of story.

  26. marie says:

    QUESTION! I share in everyone’s disappointment in the disappearance of the cream top. I loved the taste. But some of the comments here seem to indicate they’re doing something a lot worse than messing with taste…. This may sound ignorant, but I just thought homogenized meant it was blended in ?? Is it not? Does it do something to its nutritional value or something ? I want to know ! Thanks for any info :)

  27. @Yoav Perry says:

    Yes Marie. Homoganization is a violent process in which milk is pushed in high pressure through screens that are meant to break its fat golubles in order to emulsify them into the cow’s milk – a naturally non-homogenized product (unlike say, Goat’s milk). The process takes the milk out of balance and causes huge loss in minerals. The fat molecules are also so small that they are fully digested by humans, whereas much of the fat in non-homogenized milk is too thick to be digested. The next step is usually to add Calcium and Vitamin D and claim that they have done it for your health but in reality they do this because the milk otherwise collapse and separates and there is not enough calcium to activate the probiotic bacterium. Yogurt is largely a natural product and there is just no reason for any of this except aesthetics and ability to produce plasticy consistent non-rustic product for the masses. The flavor profile is not the same, the health benefits are not the same, the texture is a world away. This is junk yogurt of the cheapest kind. I suppose that since the Danon takeover of Stoneyfield they just decided to use the reputation of the brand to sell the exact same cup of $0.89 yogurt for 3 times as much by calling it Stoneyfield. Pretty pathetic for the couple that brought Organic to America when no one understood the concept and slept in dirt for the better part of their first 25 years in business until success hit them. With $40 million from Groupe Danone comes the responsibility to manufacture junk food I suppose

  28. wietog says:

    Basically, once a trusted brand is sold to a conglomerate or huge company, we are SCREWED. They immediately do all they can to reduce quality in favor of profit, and hide the changes from the loyal customers.

    Examples:

    Odwalla – Coca Cola (now they use beet sugar and inferior fruit)
    Burt’s Bees – Clorox (now they’ve changes some ingredients, most likely for cheaper ones, many have noted that the products don’t feel, smell or work the same as before)

    Brown Cow – Stonyfield/Group Danone (now they changed the maple yogurt from real maple syrup to sugar, some maple syrup, pectin and fake flavor (fyi: “natural” flavor does not actually mean that the flavoring is made up of natural ingredients, but rather that chemicals are used to imitate a “natural” flavor.)

    Customer beware!!!

  29. Aster says:

    Wietog, thanks for you comment. I’ve completely switched over to Sugar River yogurt which is a family run, fairly local (one county away) company. The come to the farmers’ market near our house and they are available at the coop where I do some of our shopping. Of course profit is necessary, people/companies make things to earn a living. But I think you hit the nail on the head, once customers are thought of that anonymous commodity called “consumers” and once answering to share holders overtakes quality in a product. Of course profit is necessary, people/companies make things to earn a living.

  30. I didn’t know they stopped using real maple syrup! That’s disgusting! I knew it tasted different!

  31. Aster says:

    Find a good yogurt w/o any added flavors. Add what you want. It’ll probably taste better. You’ll probably add less sugar (in whatever form).

  32. Pingback: wham « Let Them Eat (genetically engineered) Cake

  33. moo-moo says:

    I was in need of a comfort food last night and just found out what everyone else has – the cream is dead in Stonyfield. Sadly, I can’t find ANY replacements though. Does anyone have a suggestion on what may be located in the northern Virginia market? The alternatives mentioned before (Brown Cow, Sugar River Dairy, etc) are not available. It is a dire state for yogurt lovers!

  34. Aster says:

    moo-moo, thanks for commenting. I hope someone has some ideas about northern VA. Sugar River is a small family run dairy in southern WI, so I’m not surprised you don’t have it there. As far as I know Brown Cow is available fairly widely, but even in a place like Madison, there are now TWO places where I could shop for acceptable yogurt. Down where our farm is, there is nothing. If we lived there full time, I’d be making my own yogurt, or making a shopping trip to Madison or possibly Dubuque, IA to find something acceptable. Sorry and good luck.

  35. Aster says:

    What about Seven Stars from Phoenixville, PA? Is that available in northern VA? I thought their yogurt was really good when I tried it. The main reason that I’m eating Sugar River yogurt is because they are right here in Wisconsin and if I can buy a local product, I will.

  36. Suzanne says:

    I bought your yougart for years only for the cream ontop. I have tried your replacement & was disappointed. I will not buy it again. I am in search of a new brand of yougart. I wish you’d continue the Cream on Top. It was what made your yougart exceptional. Now your like every other yougart;not even as good as some.

  37. Aster says:

    Suzanne, Thanks for reading and commenting. Your comment seems addressed more to Stonyfield. People still read this post every day, but no one from Stonyfield has looked at it for months, though I know one of their PR people did read it. Write to Stonyfield via email or on paper. And of course when they fail to provide a satisfactory product, because they have their minds made up, quite possibly about Cream Top being too low a profit margin item, take your money elsewhere.

  38. Beverly says:

    OMG I loved the cream on top variety! I have never enjoyed yogurt so much — a real treat! Such a disappointment to find out that it was no longer available. What is wrong? I have heard that because of new gov. regulations, the Agriculture Department or the FDA has been doubling down on a lot of things. In this case, mostly small farmers and co ops to control raw and unhomogenized foods. There have been articles recently about SWAT teams entering to family farms and confiscated private property and dairy equipment and produce.

    I wonder….it is conceivable that there was more than marketing stats controlling that decision(???)

  39. Aster says:

    Beverly, Thanks for commenting. I’m sure the Stonyfield change has NOTHING To do with the Agriculture Department or the FDA. I think you have homogenization confused with pasteurization. Stonyfield is in NO WAY a small business, what with being part of multinational Groupe Danone. To my knowledge, Stonyfield yogurt has always been PASTEURIZED. The homogenization is what is new and objectional. It is a texture and taste issue and not a food safety issue that would interest the FDA or Department of Agriculture.

  40. Scott says:

    I have always been somewhat ambivalent about yogurt in general. The stuff that I enjoyed was pumped full of sugar and jellied fruit. The stuff that was good for me had little or no taste. Then I tried the Stonyfield Cream Top and found a yogurt I really enjoyed and would eat regularly. I am sad to say with the cream top differentiator gone, I am certain that I will enjoy less yogurt.

    We cream top lovers must be in the market minority and thus not purchasing enough product to sustain the cream top line. Nobody in their right mind would change the recipe of a successful product. Right Coca Cola?

  41. Aster says:

    Hi Scott, Thanks for commenting. I took a little different route to Stonyfield Creamtop and then away from Stonyfield when the discontinued Creamtop. I used to buy flavored yogurts and found them too sweet. Then I started mixing half plain with half flavored. Finally, I just started eating plain cream top with unsweetened frozen or fresh fruit and a little homemade granola. My first purchase of the “homogenized abomination” was my last. I eat approximately a cup of yogurt a day for breakfast during the week. Certainly I am not the only one. I’ve found Sugar River Dairy’s cream top to be excellent, both for breakfast and as an ingredient in cooking. Hopefully some day the conventional wisdom about food will catch up with the truth: that Cream Top yogurt is better for us than fat free yogurt pumped full of sugary fruit… Maybe some day I’ll even be able to keep goats or sheep on our land and house them at night in the giant barn in my profile pic.

    I hope you find something you like in your neck of the woods. Does Seven Stars distribute there?

  42. Karris says:

    I know this post is old, but here in Atlanta we can get Dreaming Cow cream top yogurt. I am eating the maple ginger flavor right now, made with non-homogenized grass based milk, organic maple syrup & agave nectar. I am not traditionally a yogurt fan, but this stuff is ok. If you can find it it is worth a try for you cream top fans, I have seen it here at Whole Foods and Publix.

  43. Aster says:

    Karris, That is awesome. If anyone in your area is reading this post, I’m sure they’d like to know about Dreaming Cow… Old as this post is, it still gets traffic more days of the week than not.

  44. kassem says:

    Hi guys I need some help here? Im in the process of openning yogurt factory in the UK and I am in the process of trying my product I will be using 100% fresh cow milk every time i prepare yogurt I find cream yelowish layer on top and i want to know ? what is the best way ?????? shall I take the creamy layer off and mix the yogurt or shall I leave it as mark of quality also i would like to add that Iam not homogenizing the milk. I want to give 100% high quality products
    Please help as your feed back are very important to me
    thank you

  45. Joe says:

    Brown Cow makes cream on the top still it is better then stonyfield

  46. Aster says:

    @Kassem, definitely leave that cream on top if you’re not using homogenized milk. I think it is a mark of quality. Some people like to use the creamy layer on top separately from the rest of the yogurt. Some people will mix it in themselves. Stonyfield’s texture was far from improved when they started using homogenized milk. They weren’t “just stirring in the cream”, they were trying to pull the wool over the customer’s eyes. I don’t know how things are in the UK, but a lot of people in the US are a little nutty about wanting low fat foods, despite the debunking of “the lipid hypothesis”. Best of luck in your venture.

    @Joe, I know Brown Cow still makes cream top and I’m glad to hear you’re happy with it. They’re also owned at least in part by Stonyfield, which, since I have other options, is a deal breaker for me. I should have been buying the Wisconsin product from Sugar River long before Stonyfield’s change last year forced me to look for something else. I’ve seen where the cows who provide the milk that Sugar River graze and I’ve met the couple who run Sugar River. If I can support a local farm and a local dairy, I will!

  47. I believe Horizon Organic still makes the cream on top yogurt. I used to buy it till I started making my own from fresh raw unpasteurized and unhomogenized milk from grassfed cows.

  48. Aster says:

    Good catch, Roseann! Horizon Organic is still making cream top yogurt. No mention on their site of what their cows eat…Regardless, it’s better than what Stonyfield has been making since last year. I’ll bet your own yogurt is great!

  49. Mark says:

    Hello ann! This was a nice blog post to read. I have found this post on google because I just realized this change in my local market as well. May I suggest Cabbot Greek style yogurt which is much superior in palatability, I mean it tastes amazing! It is a bit more expensive than this already expensive stony field crap but it has nearly three times as much protein and fat per the same serving size!

  50. Aster says:

    Hi Mark, Thanks for reading. If I’m ever in Vermont, I might give Cabot’s Greek yogurt a try. After the Stonyfield switcheroo last year, this became as much about local for me as it did about Stonyfield’s switch for the worse and their subsequent lack of satisfactory response. For the most part, I’m eating Sugar River Dairy’s whole milk cream top though I’ve also tried their Greek yogurt. I prefer the regular cream top for breakfast, but I really like the Greek yogurt for cold yogurt-based sauces and for curries. I never did get all caught up in the buzz about Greek yogurt that seems to have been going on for the last couple of years.

  51. After this I switched to Brown Cow’s cream top yogurt, only recently I find myself on a small man hunt to find ANY cream top yogurt. I loved Whole Foods for their variety in “cream top” and now I’m disappointed and scouring the web to find someone who will deliver to my door if I order it.
    (this is how I found your blog BTW) and yes I agree… If humans have been eating and enjoying it for so many years, and living through it. HOW CAN IT BE BAD?

  52. Aster says:

    Hi Jennifer,
    It’s not bad, but it’s also not what is being marketed now or what is preferred by most modern eaters. I hope you can find something that will work for you. I know I’m very lucky where I live with actually choices for cream top yogurt. Good luck. Maybe some day preferences will swing back toward less processed and less sweetened food. I’m not holding my breath though.

  53. Dharma Rose says:

    It’s a sad day indeed when Horizon Organic dairy gets ranked as better than anything

  54. Eileen says:

    Stumbled on this blog with a search for “cream on top yogurt”… I had exactly same experience as Ann with the demise of Stonyfield Creme on Top, emailed Stonyfield and received the same response. Never bought any more. An additional yogurt that might be of interest is Redwood Hill Farm’s goat yogurt. It is not homogenized and does have cream on the top, although not so thick as in cow milk yogurt. They make a plain yogurt that has tapioca and pectin as thickener. The dairy is in CA but I believe the yogurt is available all over the country. http://www.redwoodhill.com/

  55. Aster says:

    Eileen, Thanks for reading as well as for the recommendation and link. Of course I caught your comment as I’m eating Sugar River yogurt for breakfast with cacao nibs, blueberries and my own granola. I’ll be sure to look for Redwood Hill’s yogurt if I find myself in California. I was in the Bay Area about a month ago, but had no need to or occasion to do any grocery shopping. I’ll next find myself in Tennessee and I wonder what I will find at Kroger in Sevierville. I also wonder if there are any smaller stores dealing with local products. I’m definitely in favor of eating the food less traveled. Especially if it is really good and it seems that small producers have to care about taste, texture and other marks of quality. It’s what sets them apart!

  56. There is a super, new article in Wiki on homogenized milk – recommended reading and food for thought about blending in the milk fat:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homogenized_Milk_and_Atherosclerosis

  57. Robert T. says:

    Wow, I bought the lowfat and noticed the texture was stiff then I saw the pectin. I also find I don’t digest it as well so they’re done. What a shame.

  58. Allie says:

    Damn shame, I was up keeping up with stoneyfields collaboration with Danone but had stopped buying there regular label therefore missed the whole milk plain yogurt change. Unfortunately I have been consuming mostly brown cow cream top only to realize I didn’t dig deep enough. Now one has to wonder about integrity of the product and I hate calling my yogurt a product but that’s exactly what it is. low pasturization temps, non-homogenized and grass-fed all matter so very much to me more now than ever. There was a yogurt at Whole Foods (East Coast MA) in a glass bottle for over $6 a bottle that is delicious, grass fed, but I’m not sure about homogenization. I’ll look into it. Other than that, Seven Stars and perhaps other locals if available. There are many farms that raise loved animals that sell beef and dairy in and around my area. Outsourcing to private farms for purchase of high quality food is probably a must these days. The “organic niche” has been sought after, exploited and is being destroyed. All for $$$. So sad.

  59. Merry Pip says:

    I had noticed but didn’t bat an eye because it still said it was organic. To this day my daughter, who is now five and started her yogurt life with stony field cream on top, still believes there is cream on top when she opens the container. I have so serious rethinking to do. Thanks for the info and I agree that the change is profit driven.

  60. kimberly says:

    I found this forum after researching who “owns” Brown Cow yogurt. I discovered Stonyfield/DANNON owns Brown Cow. I too was a former lover and committed buyer of Stonyfield’s Cream Top yogurt until they changed it to that nasty mess they are selling now! I agree let that horrible mess SPOIL on the shelf! If I wanted inferior yogurt I would but Dannon and save 40 percent! I’m dissappointed that most of the “all natural/organic” brands at the store have been bought out by large corporations. I really have to stop and think about how I’m spending my money when I shop and its sad when big business takes over the little guy.

  61. Timothy Paul says:

    I’m not the only one! I’m so upset about this i started eating the yogurt a year before they changed it to Whole Milk. before trying Cream Top i hated yogurt. Now its gone :( I guess i have to make my own yogurt now. Like the olden days.

  62. Joe says:

    I agree that Stonyfield is a completely different product now. I used to buy both the plain and low fat vanilla. It just no longer tastes the same. Also, does anyone know if they’ve changed or added different cultures to it? Even though it wasn’t as good before, at least I could eat it. Now I have an allergic reaction to their yogurt. Bye bye, Stonyfield…. I’ll have to search for a real yogurt alternative, or make my own.

  63. Rajesh Challa says:

    I’m glad that I’m not the only person feeling the displeasure of missing the Cream Top yogurt. Initially I thought the store I generally go to might have stopped selling it, but after visiting many stores that sell Stoneyfield products I was surprised to not find it anywhere.

    I kept buying the Whole Milk Smooth and Creamy yogurt all these days (over an year).

    Today, I just googled ‘stonyfield yogurt cream top’ and found this page as the first result.

    I wish Stoneyfield sees all these responses and reintroduces the Cream Top yogurt even if it is a dollar or two more…

  64. Amanto Eatrite says:

    thanks for ruining something special, as a teaher i see hundreds of parents, many of whom bragg about your yogurtor i do to them. well we are all gone until you switch back and bring back the best organic strawberry yogurt ever!!!!

  65. Rajesh Challa says:

    Just a quick update. I have been trying the Seven Stars yogurt from last few months and it tastes really good. It’s made with non-homogenized milk with cream on top. A perfect replacement for the Stonyfield cream top yogurt for me.

    http://www.sevenstarsfarm.com/low_fat_yogurt
    http://www.sevenstarsfarm.com/whole_milk_yogurt

  66. Aster says:

    Rajesh,
    Thanks for reading and commenting. Totally agreed. I actually think Seven Stars is BETTER than Stonyfield was. It would most definitely be my yogurt of choice if I didn’t have Sugar River Dairy so close by.

  67. lizard says:

    Thanks for all this info! I just emailed stonyfield my disapproval – i referred to this as ‘new coke’. argh.

  68. Aster says:

    Lizard, thanks for reading and commenting. I still can’t believe the traffic this post gets as old as it is. I had a look at your yogurt-making post. I may be headed down that road some time in the future. I too would have opted for glass containers for the yogurt.

  69. kniticmelody says:

    another option is – Desi Natural Dahi/Yogurt, whole milk, cream on top, available in Asian markets where desi food ingredients are sold. Great article here: http://www.littleindia.com/odds-ends/1652-the-birth-of-a-dahi-wallah.html

  70. Clif says:

    Thank you for the details on the change that was not for the better. I had given up Yogurt for other products, but I just wanted that awesome creamy taste again. And when I could not find it, I found your info. Thank you.

  71. Vicki McKie says:

    Color me “not paying attention!” I had not eaten yogurt in a while due to my own health problems, and having to avoid dairy for awhile, which is now resolving. Anyway – I just bought some Stonyfield Cream on Top Whole Milk Yogurt this week — or so I thought. I didn’t notice the difference in the label until today when I was looking up the nutritional information to log into my dietary program… and couldn’t find it listed on the Stonyfield site. Thus, I found your post. Such a Shame. I have recently become able to drink cow’s milk again, and for health purposes, only want REAL FOODS. I found a local dairy with non-homogenized milk here in South Carolina at Hickory Hill Dairy (http://www.hickoryhillmilk.com/). I know they periodically offer home made cheese. Don’t think they produce yogurt yet, but I am going to suggest it to them. Thanks so much for your informative post and for drawing our attention to the complexities of “real” yogurt production and the other that is NOT. I may have to follow in my daughter’s footsteps and begin making my own yogurt.

  72. dg says:

    http://natural-by-nature.com/ in conjunction with Springwood Farms just released their cream top, grass-fed yogurt

  73. Aster says:

    DG! That’s great for Delaware and surrounding areas. If I was there, I’d choose that.

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