8 Facts about Yoplait

iStock/memoriesarecaptured
iStock/memoriesarecaptured

Yoplait is one of the world's largest and most famous yogurt brands—it's available in more than 50 countries and has offered creamy and delicious yogurts since the 1960s. With products such as Yoplait Whips, Go-Gurt, Yoplait Greek 100, and Plenti, Yoplait is known for its wide variety of flavors, far from the standard vanilla and strawberry. Dessert-centric options like Boston cream, sea salt caramel, and cheesecake work to get consumers to consider yogurt as snacks and non-breakfast meals. Below, we've whipped up some facts you might not know about the brand.

1. Yoplait is an amalgamation of the dairies Yola and Coplait.

In 1964, six regional French dairy cooperatives joined forces to create and sell yogurt and other products on a national scale. The six co-ops, consisting of 100,000 French dairy farmers, merged to create one company called Sodima. By the following year, Sodima was ready to debut their signature yogurt, which they named Yoplait after two of the most well-known member co-ops, Yola and Coplait.

2. One of the original Yoplait logos was a cow named Michonnette.

Yoplait's current logo is a flower with five red and orange petals, but the yogurt company originally had two logos. The first logo was a flower with six petals, one for each of the six dairy co-ops, and the other logo was of a cow named Michonnette. Michonnette appeared supine on her back with her udders pointed up, milk spraying out of them and directly into Yoplait containers. For Yoplait's launch in 1965 in Paris, the company had a real cow representing Michonnette in the event's lobby.

3. A Michigan cottage cheese company introduced Yoplait to America.

container of Yoplait yogurt
Like_the_Grand_Canyon, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Yoplait became widely available in the United States when William Bennet, the president and CEO of the Michigan Cottage Cheese Company, got the licensing rights to begin making and marketing Yoplait in the States in 1975. Bennet equipped his factory in Reed City, Michigan, to make and package yogurt, and soon he couldn't keep up with demand. In 1977, General Mills entered a franchise agreement to market Yoplait in the U.S. and acquired the Michigan Cottage Cheese Company's yogurt plant.

4. Yoplait invented a drinkable yogurt.

Yoplait invented drinkable yogurt in 1974, called Yop. The yogurt drink was a success in France, and it spread to the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, and Canada. Yop is available in various flavors (such as strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry) depending on the country it's in, but it has limited availability in the U.S.

5. Yoplait's container design is tough on wildlife …

After videos of skunks getting their heads stuck in Yoplait containers were posted online, The Humane Society brought awareness to the problem. "The skunk that doesn't get found dies a horrible death. They suffocate because there's not much air in those cups. They may get hit by cars when they run across roadways," said Laura Simon of the Humane Society's Urban Wildlife Program. Because Yoplait containers have a uniquely narrow opening and wider base, skunks, squirrels, and other small animals searching for food can get their heads stuck in the containers.

6. … even after Yoplait attempted a redesign 20 years ago to protect the animals.

After animal advocates petitioned General Mills to redesign Yoplait containers, the company added a warning—"protect wildlife; crush cup before disposal"—on the containers in 1998. Some animal advocates, though, didn't think the changes were enough to protect wildlife because the warning is in small print, the opening of the container is still narrow and the flange at the rim traps the animals, and crushing the cup is difficult.

7. Yoplait had a product placement shoutout in Mr. Mom.

In 1983, Yoplait got a mention in the film Mr. Mom. In the scene where Jack Butler (Michael Keaton) plays poker with a group of housewives, they don't use poker chips or money for betting. Instead, they use coupons for popular food products, including Domino's and Yoplait.

8. Ads for Yoplait's Plenti feature a cover of Men at Work's song "Down Under."

To capitalize on the popularity of Greek yogurt and compete with Greek yogurt companies such as Chobani and Fage, Yoplait created Plenti. A Greek yogurt, Plenti comes with whole grain oats, flaxseeds, and pepitas. To get customers excited about Plenti, Yoplait released commercials featuring a reworked version of "Down Under" by Men At Work. The early 1980s song originally featured the line "I said to the man, 'Are you trying to tempt me/Because I come from the land of plenty?'" in its third verse, but was rewritten new lyrics about oats, berries, peaches, pumpkin seeds, and cherries in the mythical Land of Plenti.

The Most Popular Christmas Cookie in Each State

Jen Tepp/iStock via Getty Images
Jen Tepp/iStock via Getty Images

While opinions about peppermint bark, reindeer corn, and other Christmas candies are important enough to warrant a map of their own, we all know that the real crown jewel of any kitchen counter during the holidays is an enormous platter of homemade cookies.

In a festive endeavor to guess which type of cookie is most likely to be on your counter this Christmas, General Mills collected search data from BettyCrocker.com, Pillsbury.com, and Tablespoon.com, and created a map that shows which recipes are clicked most often in each state.

Those universally adored Hershey Kiss-topped peanut butter cookies, known on Betty Crocker’s website as Classic Peanut Butter Blossoms, took the top spot in seven states, including Florida, Pennsylvania, California, Kentucky, Nevada, South Carolina, and Wyoming. And people don’t just love peanut butter in blossom form—Easy Peanut Butter Cookie Cups, Peanut Butter-Chocolate Cookies, and 2-Ingredient PB-Chocolate Truffles also made appearances on the list.

general mills christmas cookies map
General Mills

Peanut butter treats are definitely a popular choice among holiday bakers in general, and cookie decorators are likely responsible for the prevalence of plain old sugar cookies across the nation. Sugar Cookie Cutouts, Easy Spritz Cookies, and Easy Italian Christmas Cookies all offer a deliciously blank slate for your artistic aspirations.

Apart from peanut butter- and plain sugar-based desserts, the rest of the results were pretty scattered. Iowa most often opts for the figure eight-shaped Swedish Kringla, while Michigan loves a good jam-filled Polish Kolaczki. Surprisingly, Hawaii was the only state to choose gingerbread cookies as their seasonal favorite.

If you’re thinking classic chocolate chip cookies are suspiciously absent from this map altogether, you have great dessert-related detective skills: General Mills decided to omit them from the study, since they’re Betty Crocker’s most-searched cookie recipe all year long, and they would’ve dominated in a staggering 22 states.

Whether you’re looking for a new show-stopping cookie recipe or just wondering how your long-standing family traditions compare to others’, you can read more on the study—and see all the recipes in full—here.

[h/t General Mills]

Why Do Fruitcakes Last So Long?

iStock
iStock

Fruitcake is a shelf-stable food unlike any other. One Ohio family has kept the same fruitcake uneaten (except for periodic taste tests) since it was baked in 1878. In Antarctica, a century-old fruitcake discovered in artifacts left by explorer Robert Falcon Scott’s 1910 expedition remains “almost edible,” according to the researchers who found it. So what is it that makes fruitcake so freakishly hardy?

It comes down to the ingredients. Fruitcake is notoriously dense. Unlike almost any other cake, it’s packed chock-full of already-preserved foods, like dried and candied nuts and fruit. All those dry ingredients don’t give microorganisms enough moisture to reproduce, as Ben Chapman, a food safety specialist at North Carolina State University, explained in 2014. That keeps bacteria from developing on the cake.

Oh, and the booze helps. A good fruitcake involves plenty of alcohol to help it stay shelf-stable for years on end. Immediately after a fruitcake cools, most bakers will wrap it in a cheesecloth soaked in liquor and store it in an airtight container. This keeps mold and yeast from developing on the surface. It also keeps the cake deliciously moist.

In fact, fruitcakes aren’t just capable of surviving unspoiled for months on end; some people contend they’re better that way. Fruitcake fans swear by the aging process, letting their cakes sit for months or even years at a stretch. Like what happens to a wine with age, this allows the tannins in the fruit to mellow, according to the Wisconsin bakery Swiss Colony, which has been selling fruitcakes since the 1960s. As it ages, it becomes even more flavorful, bringing out complex notes that a young fruitcake (or wine) lacks.

If you want your fruitcake to age gracefully, you’ll have to give it a little more hooch every once in a while. If you’re keeping it on the counter in advance of a holiday feast a few weeks away, the King Arthur Flour Company recommends unwrapping it and brushing it with whatever alcohol you’ve chosen (brandy and rum are popular choices) every few days. This is called “feeding” the cake, and should happen every week or so.

The aging process is built into our traditions around fruitcakes. In Great Britain, one wedding tradition calls for the bride and groom to save the top tier of a three-tier fruitcake to eat until the christening of the couple’s first child—presumably at least a year later, if not more.

Though true fruitcake aficionados argue over exactly how long you should be marinating your fruitcake in the fridge, The Spruce says that “it's generally recommended that soaked fruitcake should be consumed within two years.” Which isn't to say that the cake couldn’t last longer, as our century-old Antarctic fruitcake proves. Honestly, it would probably taste OK if you let it sit in brandy for a few days.

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