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A common breakfast staple, Greek yoghurt has gained popularity as a replacement for crème fraîche, sour cream and even mayonnaise across the globe. But this newfound fame led to the rise of many dairy brands labelling their yoghurt as Greek, even though they are produced elsewhere. But recently, the Greek Ministry of Agriculture made a move to stop the impostors.
Greek yoghurt, enjoying a rise in popularity for the past decade, is readily available in the dairy aisle of your supermarket. But do you really know what the difference is between regular yoghurt and Greek yoghurt? Though the initial process of making yoghurt is the same, the Greek variety undergoes an additional straining process, which removes the liquid whey and lactose, making it a thicker, less sugary yoghurt. As such, Greek yoghurt contains more proteins and less sodium and carbohydrates than its regular counterpart. The only downside is that it has more saturated fat than the regular variety – that is unless you use low-fat Greek yoghurt. While many eat it as a breakfast meal, in Greece, yoghurt is used in many recipes, including tzatziki and as a dessert, topped with honey and nuts or spoon sweets.
With all the beneficial advantages it offers, it is not hard to understand why it is considered one of the best breakfast choices for anyone looking to lose weight or bulk up. But the craze for Greek yoghurt pushed several dairy producers to market their yoghurt as Greek, taking a shortcut by adding proteins and thickeners to make it look like the real deal.
Tired of these tricks, the Greek Ministry of Agriculture has devised a plan to apply for a protected geographical indication (PGI) or protected designation of origin (PDO) for Greek yoghurt, preventing other producers in the EU to use the term. This move comes after the EU settled a dispute between Greece and the Czech Republic, which had been marketing locally produced yoghurt as Greek yoghurt. The EU ended the issue with the argument that “using the term ‘Greek yoghurt’ for products produced outside Greece would deceive consumers and would create unfair competition in the EU market.”
So, the next time you are in your supermarket, watch out for ‘fake’ Greek yoghurt and opt for the real deal if you can. And if you don’t understand what the fuss is all about, on your next visit to Greece, have some local yoghurt; you will definitely get why Greeks are so protective of their delicacy.