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Yogurt is a popular food choice in the United States. According to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, per capita yogurt consumption in the U.S. in 2008 was 11.8 pounds. Yogurt is eaten for breakfast, lunch and as a snack. Yoplait yogurt, made by General Mills, is the highest selling yogurt in the U.S., occupying 34 percent of the yogurt market in 2000, according to Swissbusinesshub.com. Containing milk and vitamin additives, Yoplait yogurt is high in calcium, vitamin D, and is a significant source for protein as well.
The main ingredient in Yoplait yogurt is cultured pasteurized grade-A low-fat milk. Cultured milk is also known as fermented milk, which is milk that has been fermented with lactic acid bacteria. In this milk, the bacteria converted sugar into lactic acid. The purpose of this fermentation is to increase the shelf life, texture and flavor of the product. Cultured milk is used in yogurt, buttermilk, sour cream and some cheeses. Nonfat milk is also an ingredient in Yoplait yogurt.
Sugar and high fructose corn syrup are the ingredients that sweeten Yoplait yogurt. High fructose corn syrup acts as both a sweetener and a preservative. It is derived from cornstarch, and is used in processed food because it is cheaper and has a longer shelf life than regular sugar.
There are 25 flavors of original Yoplait yogurt. Except for the coffee and vanilla flavors, fruit is another main ingredient in Yoplait yogurt. Examples of fruit ingredients that may be added, depending on the flavor, are strawberries, blueberries, banana puree, cherries or boysenberries.
Modified cornstarch, kosher gelatin and pectin are all ingredients of Yoplait yogurt, which give the yogurt its texture. Cornstarch and pectin act as thickening agents, making the yogurt creamier. Kosher gelatin also adds texture to the yogurt. It is often assumed that kosher gelatin is derived from a vegetarian source; however, contrary to common belief, it may also be derived from animal or dairy. Unless a product specifies that its kosher gelatin is derived from a vegetarian source, such as carob beans or agar agar, it may contain animal or dairy products.
Citric acid and natural flavors are ingredients of Yoplait yogurt, which add flavor to the yogurt. Citric acid is a weak acid commonly used as a food additive to give food a tangy flavor. Natural flavors may come from a natural source or may be chemically derived. They are typically made from a mixture of substances containing between 5 and 50 ingredients. The purpose of a flavor additive is to enhance the flavor of the food product.
Vitamins and Minerals
Yoplait yogurt contains added vitamin A acetate, tricalcium phosphate and vitamin D3. These ingredients provide 15 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin A, 20 percent of the recommended daily value of calcium, and 10 to 20 percent of the recommended vitamin D.
Yoplait yogurt contains added color. The color added depends on the flavor variety. For example, Yoplait strawberry and strawberry-banana yogurts contain carmine as a color additive. Carmine, also called carminic acid, is a natural red color derived from the crushed bodies of cochineal insects. Yoplait blueberry and boysenberry yogurts contain beet juice as a color additive.
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Ingrid Smith started her medical research in 1993 and had her first contribution to medical writing in 1996 for "The New England Journal of Medicine." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations from Stanford University and a medical degree from New York University School of Medicine.
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