Next time you hit up a French grocery store, spend a few extra minutes strolling by all the French yogurt varieties. You may be there awhile. Even in the smaller stores, the yogurt selection is award worthy. There are so many brands and varieties that an inquisitive foreigner could easily spend 20 euros on yogurt alone out of sheer curiosity (not saying I did that or anything. Oops, OK maybe once. Twice, tops). Even though I’ve been here 4 years now, yogurt in France is still all new and exciting and you have to try ’em all to find your favorite, right?
France yogurt culture
The French love their yogurt and they’d be fools not to. It’s delicious! Kids and adults delight in their post-meal yogurt, so when in France, absolutely pick up a few different yogurt varieties — even if you’re not a big yogurt person. If you don’t like a certain variety, there are so many other kinds of yogurt in France for you to sample. They make great desserts, too!
How much do the French love yogurt? A lot! The average French person eats at least one serving of yogurt a day. The average American? Zero to three servings per week.
There are all different varieties of yogurt in France: ones made with cow’s milk, goat’s milk, Greek yogurt, yogurt with fruit on the bottom, low-fat, organic, soy, this and that and the list goes on. While there are many different brands, Danone is the major yogurt player in France and launched in 1929. Many varieties look familiar like the Activia I know from home. The texture seems to be different in France, though.
Others are locally made and come in little glass containers. Some are sweeter and taste more like dessert and others are lower in sugar and mix great with granola. The majority of yogurts are dairy based and tend to be creamier than their American counterparts. Wherever you shop, there’s something for everyone!
Crave a pudding dessert instead? The yogurt aisle turns into a little dessert cup aisle full of little puddings and other treats if you keep walking.
What you won’t find in the France yogurt/dessert aisle?
JELL-O cups, for one. I’ve never seen the brand or a similar gelatin product in little cups — just packets of plain gelatin for cooking in the baking aisle.
Aside from the flavor, the packaging of these little yogurts can be quaint and cute. They often come in little glass jars or ceramic pots. At first they were so cute and cool, but I have a collection of them (going use them for something one day, I swear) that gets smaller and smaller when I reach for something up on the same shelf and one little glass jar inevitably comes smashing down. I love cleaning up glass. Maybe I should throw them all away.
My fave French yogurt?
I can’t pick just one yogurt in France that I love the most, but those pictured above rank pretty high on my list — since they did come out of my fridge! Two French yogurt brands not pictured: For a nice dose of protein, I love the Taillefine Nature. It’s low in sugar and calories and blends in perfectly with smoothies, not to mention it tastes great on its own with fruit and granola mixed in. For a more dessert-like yogurt? This Beillevaire peach-flavored one is excellent!
What’s your favorite yogurt in France? What’s the best Franch yogurt variety in your opinion?
Patricia Schneider says
This article is spot on-we rent an apt. for several weeks each year in Paris, and when we stock up on groceries, yogurt is always on the list. My mom and I have a running joke about the humongous yogurt selection at Monoprix in the 7th–it’s dizzying and almost overwhelming!! But the yogurt is the best-fresh, not gelatin-based like so many that used to be found in the States (I live in NYC) until recently. I love any Greek-yogurt, and my favs in France are Danone, and Taillefine Nature, but all are creamy and so much better than in the U.S. Funny article!
It really is fun discovering all the different varieties. They’re all delicious! I never would have thought I’d become such a yogurt fiend. Yum yum, glad you enjoyed the post!
Great post! Yogurt is still a staple on our grocery list thanks to the time we spent living in France. Though I miss the adorable glass jars! They’re great for adding a level of sophistication to desserts and side dishes.
Thank you, Kim! Big fan of the glass jars too and I’ll have a post coming on those soon. So versatile! Hope you guys are well!
Lillian @ The Smalls Abroad says
The yogurt selection is crazy here! I had a hard time finding Greek yogurt that was high in protein and without a lot of sugar. Can’t sand sweetened yogurts. I usually get Fage Greek Yogurt or Gervita Mousse and add my own honey 🙂
Go w/the Taillefine 0% (more or less a Greek-style yogurt) or the same line as the Danio Kiwi in the green and white cup pictured above just plain. I think it’s blue and white. They have 0% and like 2.9% I think it is. Low in sugar and high in protein!
Phoebe @ Lou Messugo says
Lillian, pretty much all yaourt nature is unsweetened actually it’s pretty hard to find a natural yogurt with sugar. French just add a teaspoon of sugar to it if they want it. Try Velouté nature which is a bulgarian style thick natural yogurt, sugar free and delicious.
And there’s also all the “dessert yogourt” like chocolate yogourt, riz au lait, “danette”, with cream on the top…
I love that diversity! That miss me in the US!
Oh yes, the little desserts are coming soon in a post of their own. Even the store brands are delicious and the selection is just fantastic!
My favorite is “La Fermière”! They are a little bit pricy in Belgium, but they taste soooo good! And the pots are cute so you can reuse them! 🙂
Yup, just bought a two-pack of vanilla the other day. Tom liked that style more than I did. Love the ceramic containers they come in!
When I was in France in 2004, I was hooked on Bio de Danone coconut flavor. I think that’s what they called Activia in France back then. But, I have never found that flavor in the U.S., except in another brand recently. I love the little glass jars and ceramic jars in France! I kept a couple as souvenirs and put things in them.
Tom loves the coconut Activia and eats it every morning. It’s a staple on our grocery list. Delicious! They should definitely bring that flavor to the US. Post coming soon on the little containers. 😉
Jo-Anne Meadows says
I do like my yogurt but of course have never seen that much yogurt is the yogurt in France sold in small individual tubs or in large family size tubs here in Australia we can get both but wonder if that is the same in other countries
Hi Jo-Anne, I’d say that most yogurts are sold in single-serve cups in packs of 4 or 6. Some are sold as singles. Certain types of yogurt and other dairy products (fromage frais, etc.) come in larger containers with a lid. But not every brand or flavor is in a family-style container. I find the natural flavors are more popular in tubs.
I just recently started buying fresh goat and sheep yogurt from local producers! Absolutely amazing! It’s nothing like the goat yogurt you can now buy at the grocery store. If you have a local goat/sheep farmer give it a try – you’ll be in heaven (well almost) 🙂
Yum, I don’t think I’ve ever tasted goat or sheep yogurt before so I’ll have to keep an eye out for that. Sounds delicious. Thanks for the tip!
Phoebe @ Lou Messugo says
I love the yogurt aisle in the supermarket, there’s so much choice. I love how things like this give us an insight into French culture. Yogurt really is important here. I don’tt hink I’ve ever seen my inlaws finish a meal without a yogurt (nearly always plain unsweetened which they the add a spoon of sugar too!) OK maybe not after a special meal like Christmas, but all regular weekday meals have yogurt as dessert.
I wasn’t aware of the popularity of yogurt in France. Maybe you could help me. I’m making an orange upside down yogurt cake. It’s a French recipe and calls for 1 yogurt. I’m guessing there is a standard size for yogurt containers in France but I don’t know what amount “1 yogurt” is. Could you help perhaps? I’ll share the recipe!
We are learning to do these cakes at pre schools or primary schools in France.
You are right yogurt containers are standardized.
1 yaourt container = 125 g.
If you want to customize your “gâteau au yaourt” try to put apples in it …..it changes everything