10. Yogurberry from Is Pinkberry America's Best Frozen Yogurt? (Slideshow)

Is Pinkberry America's Best Frozen Yogurt? (Slideshow)

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10. Yogurberry

The décor is a little tacky and unoriginal, but we put our judgements on that aside when tasting. The vanilla was surprisingly soupy in consistency; it turned us off from wanting to try the others. But the strawberry was sweet with a fruity aftertaste, the chocolate was rich with a true chocolate flavor, and their tart was similar to a semi-sweet Greek yogurt taste. They had plenty of fresh fruit options for toppings and the regular ones you see elsewhere, but it just wasn’t anything special. Yogurberry is at the bottom of our list because, along with the fact that it didn’t offer enough flavor and topping options, the yogurt itself was run-of-the-mill. The nutrition behind a serving is excellent, but the taste and options are important as well, and this chain fell short. In a 4-ounce serving, Yogurberry’s frozen yogurt is 100 calories, 0 grams fat, and 16 grams sugar, and its price is $0.49 an ounce.

Yogurberry is one of the few frozen yogurt chains available worldwide, as well as one of the few that uses natural fruit sugar and nonfat milk. At some of their locations, they’re going to start offering coffee, gelato, and a deli and bakery. 

Taste true to flavor: 1
Base of real ingredients, not powder: 5
Consistency/texture: 1
Topping selection: 3
Topping freshness: 5
Health benefits: 5
Unique atmosphere/options: 1
Total: 21/35

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9. Red Mango

The yogurt was a little icy as far as texture goes, and it melted relatively fast. The dark chocolate was all right but not that creamy, the Sonoma strawberry was good but very sweet, and the vanilla had a good flavor, just not that strong; it tasted more like milk than vanilla. They didn’t have original tart on tap so we tried the pomegranate and it was tart and icy in texture, but really true to taste. For toppings they really triumphed with the fruit, but their dry toppings choices were slim and rather unexciting. They offer smoothies, parfaits, and many other options for those watching their weight, which helps them stand out from competition. But Red Mango got number nine on our list because of its texture and consistency; too icy, and not creamy enough like frozen yogurt should be.

In a small, 133-gram serving, their vanilla is 150 calories, 0 grams fat, and 34 grams sugars, their pomegranate is 130 calories, 0 grams fat, and 29 grams sugar, their dark chocolate is 150 calories, 0.5 grams fat, and 33 grams sugar, and their Sonoma strawberry is 150 calories, 0 grams fat, and 34 grams sugar.

Red Mango claims to have started the frozen yogurt trend back in 2007 when its first location opened, and now there are more than 200. Zagat ranked it number one in 2011 for its smoothies, frozen yogurt, and top healthy options. Its frozen yogurt has protein, calcium, and live and active cultures that they call "Super Biotics" that withstand stomach acid longer than regular probiotics so that more cultures and cells disseminate in your body than with regular yogurt. It's also all natural, nonfat or low-fat, and gluten-free. It is free of artificial sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup, and artificial colors, and they had some really creative flavors like Nutty Potion No. 9 and Spicy Aztec Chocolate.

Taste true to flavor: 3
Base of real ingredients, not powder: 5
Consistency/texture: 1
Topping selection: 1
Topping freshness: 4
Health benefits: 4
Unique atmosphere/options: 4
Total: 22/35

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8. Pinkberry

What stood out to us was the atmosphere of Pinkberry; it was very clean and no-frills, making it feel like you weren’t just stepping into a place for dessert. Their toppings were really different than any of the other chains, like pomegranate seeds, basil, sea salt, honeydew, carob chips, and even grape tomatoes. They had a lot of flavors on tap and we were able to try the chocolate, which was very good but not very rich, the strawberry, which tasted like eating a batch of fresh strawberries, the original, which wasn’t too tart, and cookies and cream because they didn’t have vanilla, which was good, but didn’t taste exactly like the cookies and cream that you would expect (i.e. Oreos). But it was good nonetheless, almost like a sweet cream flavor. Pinkerry gets the number eight spot because while its flavors are pure, they didn’t pack enough punch; it was as if in efforts to separate itself form competition with toppings and unique flavors, it took a toll in the flavor category, and we found ourselves wanting something more satisfying.

In about a ½ cup serving (100 grams), Pinkberry’s chocolate is 120 calories, 1.5 grams fat, and 15 grams sugar, their original is 100 calories, 0 grams fat, and 20 grams sugar, their strawberry is 110 calories, 0 grams fat, and 22 grams sugar, and their cookies and cream is 140 calories, 2 grams fat, and 22 grams sugar.

Pinkberry offers items from frozen yogurt, Greek frozen yogurt, shakes, cookie sandwiches, and smoothies, and their frozen yogurt is European-inspired, kosher, has live and active cultures, and has a seal of approval from the National Yogurt Association, according to their website. Their product book states that nonfat milk, sugar, and nonfat yogurt powder go into almost all their frozen yogurts. 

Taste true to flavor: 2
Base of real ingredients, not powder: 4
Consistency/texture: 4
Topping selection: 4
Topping freshness: 5
Health benefits: 4
Unique atmosphere/options: 4

Total: 27/35

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7. 16 Handles

Though we typically go for chocolate when it comes to dessert, their 'Blackberry Addiction' frozen yogurt was amazing. They didn’t have strawberry, so the Blackberry Addiction took its place, and the chocolate flavor was OK but didn’t have enough of a prominent chocolate taste. The tart was the generic tart you’d find anywhere else, and graham cracker was tried in place of vanilla, which we thought tasted reminiscent of graham crackers, but it was a little bit of a stretch. 16 Handles got the number seven spot because nothing stood out too much; the frozen yogurt was really good and the toppings were great, but besides a fantastic behind-the-scenes mission that you wouldn't know about without research, it didn’t seem like it offered anything that made it stand out to the customer.

Founded in 2008, 16 Handles is big on expression, encouraging people to "flaunt their flavor" and personality, all while keeping it eco-friendly. Their flavors are kosher certified, fat-free, and packed with protein and calcium, and they use cornstarch spoons, biodegradable cups, and they partner with Trees for the Future, planting 16 trees a day. They have more than 75 flavors, feature 16 on tap that rotate daily, and feature more than 50 toppings. Their head chef, Robynne Maii, works to introduce new gourmet ideas into the flavors like their new "Artisan" collection with flavors like Tahitian vanilla and toppings like bananas foster chips. Their frozen yogurt is dairy based and contains probiotics, and they tout their fro-yo as a healthy alternative based on research that says that yogurt helps reduce LDL and decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Their pricing is $0.49 to $0.55 per ounce, and in a 83-grams serving, their original tart is 90 calories, 0 grams fat, and 15 grams sugars, their chocolate is 120 calories, 0 grams fat, and 15 grams sugars, their graham cracker is 95 calories, 0 grams fat, 15 grams sugars, and their blackberry is 110 calories, 0 grams fat, and 19 grams sugars.

Taste true to flavor: 4
Base of real ingredients, not powder: 5
Consistency/texture: 5
Topping selection: 3
Topping freshness: 3
Health benefits: 4
Unique atmosphere/options: 4
Total: 28/35

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6. TCBY

TCBY's chocolate had a really genuine flavor that wasn’t too rich, their Italian tart was creamy instead of icy and made for an exceptional flavor, the strawberry had a really fresh, sweet taste, and they didn’t have vanilla on tap so we tried the white chocolate mousse, which was insanely addicting, sweet, and different, tasting almost like cake. They had a great selection of toppings from nuts to fruit, cookie dough, other cookies, brownies, and tons of syrups like marshmallow. It got the number six ranking because of the variety of flavors and how true to taste they were, as well as their fun environment; what kept them from getting anything higher is the fat content in their yogurt. In a sea of competitors offering fat-free yogurt, this aspect really hurt TCBY, even though it’s extremely flavorful and offers a wide variety.

In a 4-ounce (1/2 cup serving), their chocolate has 110 calories, 1.5 grams fat, and 18 grams sugar, their strawberry has 110 calories, 2 grams fat, and 17 grams sugar, their Italian tart has 100 calories, 0 grams fat, and 17 grams sugar, and their white chocolate mousse has 120 calories, 2 grams fat, and 17 grams sugar.

TCBY has a really fun environment because of the colors and lights that decorate the wall, but it isn’t as overwhelming as Cups. The TCBY story goes all the way back to 1981, when it opened its doors for the first time, and recently celebrated more than 30 years being a successful frozen yogurt chain. TCBY introduced Super Fro-Yo in 2011, a frozen yogurt that has nutrients like probiotics, vitamin D, calcium, protein, and fiber. It also offers parfaits, Greek yogurt flavors, and some of their crazier, more inventive flavors include bananas foster, spiced apple, and white chocolate macadamia. 

Taste true to flavor: 5
Base of real ingredients, not powder: 5
Consistency/texture: 5
Topping selection: 5
Topping freshness: 3
Health benefits: 2
Unique atmosphere/options: 4
Total: 29/35

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5. Cups

Going into Cups is always an experience, with the loud music, bright colors, and television screens showing people dancing like a Dance-Dance-Revolution game. We sampled the birthday cake flavor because they didn’t have vanilla and it was just about perfect, very true to taste, but the Eurotart was almost sour. Original chocolate was really creamy, reminiscent of a Wendy’s Frosty, and strawberry was really milky and thick as well. Their toppings included a wide array of fruits, candy, and chocolate pieces like chocolate covered marshmallows, but the yogurt melted pretty fast after we sat down with it. Cups got the number five spot because it has a variety of flavor and toppings options while keeping the fat at zero and the sugars relatively low, but the flavors could have been refined a little bit, as well as the consistency of the yogurt. If the flavors packed more of a punch and the frozen yogurts withstood melting a bit longer, Cups would have gotten an A+ in our book. A less aggressive environment would help, as well, but their target market seems to be the tweens that don't mind it all that much.

In a 83-grams serving, their Birthday Cake is 100 calories, 0 grams fat, and 18 grams sugar; their strawberry is 70 calories, 0 grams fat, and 18 grams sugar; the Eurotart is 90 calories, 0 grams fat, and 13 grams sugars; and their chocolate is 110 calories, 0 grams fat, and 20 grams sugar.

Cups’ frozen yogurt undergoes a culturing process that gives it high levels of live and active cultures, but also results in less acidity to make the taste sweeter and less tart. They offer 24 flavors that vary by location, and more than 50 toppings, with yogurt flavors like huckleberry, maple bacon donut, and angel food cake, and topping flavors like watermelon, papaya, and vanilla Clodhoppers, the Dylan’s Candy Bar classic of graham cracker covered in white chocolate fudge. 

Taste true to flavor: 3
Base of real ingredients, not powder: 5
Consistency/texture: 5
Topping selection: 5
Topping freshness: 3
Health benefits: 4
Unique atmosphere/options: 5
Total: 30/35

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4. Let's Yo

It’s easy to go overboard here because their cups are practically bigger than your face, but it’s just so darn good. Their flavors had a creamy consistency but were slightly untrue to taste. The vanilla was good and creamy but didn’t have a pure vanilla taste, the strawberry was milky but still fruity and delicious, but the chocolate was spot on. Original tart wasn’t on tap so we tried the California tart, and our first instinct was to pucker; it was intensely tart, but very refreshing. They each melted in about 10 minutes but withstood melting longer than many of the others. There were a ton of toppings, from the usual ones like cookie dough and fruits, to cereal, and a huge array of sprinkles and syrups. The combinations that you can concoct, between yogurt flavors and toppings, are endless. Let’s Yo gets number four because even though the flavors could be slightly truer to taste, they are still really delicious, and their toppings blow the competition out of the water. It also has just about the same amount of calories and sugar as other places but technically its serving size a little bit larger.

In a 89-grams serving, their vanilla is 100 calories, 0 grams fat, and 16 grams sugar, their all-natural California tart is 100 calories, 0 grams fat, and 17 grams sugar, their chocolate is 80 calories, 0 grams fat, and 6 grams sugar, and their wild strawberry is 80 calories, 0 grams fat, and 6 grams sugar.

Founded by Eric Casaburi, the man who launched RetroFitness gyms at the age of 29, Let’s Yo is Casaburi’s idea of a fresh and all-natural way to get a treat even if you’re trying to stay fit, all done in a modern way. He stresses that "Let’s Yo products are rich and robust with taste, low in fat, stacked with live cultures and good for the body." Their frozen yogurt uses fresh milk, dairy, high amounts of live and active cultures, and real fruit. They also offer coffee drinks like cappuccinos, café lattes, and hot cocoa in a café-like environment. Some wackier flavors include snicker doodle cookie dough, blue daiquiri ice sorbet, and ooey gooey cinnamon bun.

Taste true to flavor: 3
Base of real ingredients, not powder: 5
Consistency/texture: 5
Topping selection: 5
Topping freshness: 4
Health benefits: 4
Unique atmosphere/options: 5
Total: 31/35

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3. Tasti D-Lite

We were really blown away by how thick and creamy their yogurt was; the consistency was almost custard-like, and we really enjoyed it. The strawberry was very good, almost like a thicker strawberry milkshake, and the chocolate had a genuine taste, not too sweet, but actually full of cocoa. The vanilla was kind of bland, and they didn’t have tart on tap so we sampled the German chocolate flavor and it was incredible; you could taste chocolate and coconut both very prominently. The biggest drawback was the selection: there were only six flavors on tap, and all of the general toppings (cookie dough, Oreo crumbles, gummies, sprinkles, syrups) but not as many as other stores. At the end of the day, not enough options plagued this chain, so although the taste was incredible and it’s extremely health-conscious, wasn;t at the top of the heap because it just doesn’t offer enough. More flavors on tap and some more topping options would improve Tasti D-Lite.

According to their media fact sheet, in a 4-fluid ounce serving, Tasti D-Lite has only 70 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, and 12 grams of sugars in all of their flavors, whereas other leading frozen yogurts have 105 calories, .4 grams fat, and 17 grams sugar, and other leading ice cream brands have 253 calories, 16 grams fat, and 22 grams sugar.

Tasti D-Lite has been around since 1987, introducing the first concept of what it can mean to have a treat that has fewer calories, less fat, and that is still delicious. Not technically ice cream or yogurt, it’s "a dairy-based product that has lower calories, lower carbs, and lower sugars than the average frozen yogurt competitor," according to VP of marketing, Donna Smith.

Taste true to flavor: 5
Base of real ingredients, not powder: 5
Consistency/texture: 5
Topping selection: 4
Topping freshness: 4
Health benefits: 5
Unique atmosphere/options: 4
Total: 32/35

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2. Yogurtland

Yogurtland had a very good selection of flavors on tap, but the vanilla and chocolate flavors weren’t very pronounced; if we went back, we’d go for something a little more unique. The strawberry, however, was amazing, and the tart was out of order so the taro flavor took its place, and we couldn’t decide what exactly it reminded us of. It was sweet, but nutty, almost like hazelnut; whatever it was, it was certainly unique. Yogurtland got the number two because they had a huge range of flavor options, from the original to the never-before-seen, and they had a ton of toppings, and cost only $0.39 an ounce. Its health aspects are stellar, but what kept it at number two was accuracy of flavor; slightly stronger and more true-to-taste yogurts would really enhance the experience here. Besides that, it offers a great frozen yogurt selection and experience.

In a ½ cup (83-grams serving), Yogurtland’s vanilla is 80 calories, 0 grams fat, and 6 grams of sugar, the chocolate is 100 calories, 0 grams fat, and 16 grams of sugar, the strawberry is 110 calories, 0 grams fat, and 17 grams sugar, and the taro is 110 calories, 0 grams fat, and 18 grams of sugar.

Yogurtland opened in 2006 and is now worldwide, making its yogurt with a base of milk and authentically sourced ingredients. It’s packed with calcium and vitamins C and D, as well as live and active cultures in their probiotics. They offer seasonal fruit and tons of other toppings, from carob chips to cereal. Its environment is really bright and welcoming, too, which makes the experience there that much more enjoyable. Some of the crazier flavors they had included Bugs Bunny Carrot Cake, black sesame vanilla, strawberry banana taffy, chocolate coconut truffle, and taro.

Taste true to flavor: 5
Base of real ingredients, not powder: 5
Consistency/texture: 5
Topping selection: 5
Topping freshness: 5
Health benefits: 5
Unique atmosphere/options: 4
Total: 34/35

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1. Sweet Frog

We finished our Sweet Frog fro-yo and immediately wanted more; the flavors and the toppings were unbelievable. Their toppings were pretty much the usual ones that you’d find at other chains plus some rarer ones, but the selection was almost overwhelming. Cookie dough, coconut, banana, and cheesecake bites were some toppings that we saw, along with interesting syrups like lemon, lime, and chocolate hazelnut. We sampled the Very Strawberry, which was creamy and fruity, Alpine Vanilla, which had a really strong vanilla flavor, White Peach Tea because they didn’t have tart, which was really refreshing and something new, and Red Velvet because they didn’t have chocolate, and we could have sworn we were eating a red velvet cake. It didn’t melt fast at all and was really creamy, but not too thick. Sweet Frog earned the number one place on our list because it’s the whole package: it has a huge selection of flavors and a wide array of toppings, a friendly and not-overbearing atmosphere, little to no fat in all their yogurts, and sugar content around 17 or 18 grams in a serving.

In a 4-ounce serving, the Alpine Vanilla has 100 calories, 0 grams fat, and 18 grams sugar; the Very Strawberry has 100 calories, 0 grams fat, and 17 grams sugar; the White Peach Tea has 90 calories, 0 grams fat, and 16 grams sugar; and the Red Velvet has 120 calories, 2 grams fat, and 17 grams sugar.

Sweet Frog began in 2009 and has a family-friendly environment with bright colors and paintings on the wall promoting their mascots, Scoop and Cookie. In an interesting twist, their "Frog" stands for "Fully Rely on God," a mission through which they partner with local organizations to become involved in the local community, according to their website. They offer other items, too, like waffle bowls, parfaits, and banana boats. 

Taste true to flavor: 5
Base of real ingredients, not powder: 5
Consistency/texture: 5
Topping selection: 5
Topping freshness: 5
Health benefits: 5
Unique atmosphere/options: 5
Total: 35/35

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