February 2nd, 2009

Yoplait ‘Tubes’

by Stephanie Segal • in Food & Drink

When it comes to food there are times I like to go with what I know. Take yogurt. Call me old fashioned, but it belongs in a little cup. Back in the day, I was faithful to Light N Lively (no longer available in Canada). Nowadays, I go for Source, because of its sizeable soft fruit pieces and overall deliciousness and nutritional content. In case you are dying to know, the flavor of choice was and still is strawberry.

When yogurt with cups of granola attached to the top came along, I was skeptical. And I was right to be. When I caved to curiosity I was dismayed to find adding the goodies on top caused the whole thing to overflow and make a mess. Perhaps that’s what ingrained my suspicions toward newer yogurt ‘fads’, namely drinkable yogurt, like Yop, and yogurt in any other form, such as the tube.

I can’t comment on Yop because I’ve never tried it, and don’t intend to. Last time I checked yogurt was not a drink. Something about watching a person swigging back a Yop revolts me. Does it leave a yogurt-stache? Gross.

So when my mother told me she bought yogurt ‘Tubes’ for my 1-year-old son to try, I was less than excited. I mean, I could understand how something called ‘Hip Hop Grape’ might appeal to the playground set, but what would it do for a clueless (not my kid, he’s a genius) toddler? If you have the kind of energy required to prevent a determined grandmother from getting food into her grandchild, I applaud you. I don’t. So it was on. A Grape Yoplait Tube vs. My Active Toddler.

Surprising was the size and shape of the thing. It appears much the same as a freezie, not the paltry string cheese sized entity I had envisioned. Ingredient inspection: skim milk, sugar and cream were the first three. I made a comment about how silly it was to start with skim milk if they were just going to follow it up with sugar and cream. Then I tasted it. It was thick and creamy, not at all runny and loose the way I imagine Yop to be (ugh), and though grape yogurt is a bizarre concoction, it was pretty pleasing to the tongue. My guy came lurching over and I pointed the open edge to his mouth. Instinctively he opened up and I squeezed some yogurt in. His face squished up the way it does for anything new, and he began to walk away.

Before I could begin singing the praises of good ol’ cup yogurts and celebrating my victory, little Benedict Arnold did an about face and high tailed it back to me for another squeeze. He kept at this walk away/come back pattern until the tube resembled an empty tube of toothpaste, squeezed clean. His quick consumption of the whole thing (minus a little taste for Mama here and there) was accompanied by a string of ‘mmm’s just to make it clear that he was Very Happy about this new addition to his culinary experience.

I will admit that I too was very happy, on two levels. First and foremost, the ease, speed and cleanliness of this snack were bar none. At home, yogurt feedings have become a bit of a two-spooned duel since Mr. Man wants to hold his own spoon and feed himself. Yes, this is how they learn and they have to practice to get good, but sometimes you just want to know your kid is getting the nutrition he needs, not spreading it in his hair, on your dogs and anywhere he can reach. The tube made the feeding a breeze. No bib. Clean hair. Hallelujah, get me a case of this stuff.

I was also pleased because by Tube’s end I too was sold. The yogurt therein is delicious. I felt like a little piggy eating it, knowing the second ingredient was sugar and the third was cream, until I looked at the nutritional values chart. The entire Tubes tube was only 60 calories! Only 1 gram of saturated fat! Now the skim milk as first ingredient made sense. Even on a strict regime space could be made for a Yoplait Tube as a luscious treat. After years of low fat this and that, the taste and texture added by real cream is more delectable than you might remember, and thanks to Yoplait it isn’t damaging at all here. Stick it in the freezer and it’s a yummy frozen treat too (my brother’s idea–props). We like versatility in snacks, don’t we, fellow weight watchers?

Thinking ahead to lunch boxes, again Yoplait Tubes strike gold. Why send a spoon along and risk Junior losing it when a Tube is, forgive the advertising term, grab n’ go? Minimal packaging also makes it a more ‘green’ option. Tubes marketing is aimed at grade schoolers, with names like Cyber Strawberry, and Cherry Avalanche stirring things up in the yogurt world, pardon the pun (no don’t, I’m super proud of it). There is a cool little dude in a backward ball cap playing basketball while holding a Tube right on the Tube, and the wrappers are in fun bright colors. As much as I condemn marketing to children, its not like it’s deep-fried Snickers bars within, right? We want our kids to want to eat healthy snacks, and this is one.


Except there is no actual fruit in Tubes. The only thing fruit related on the ingredient list regardless of flavor is lemon juice. All other taste is simulated courtesy of natural and artificial flavors. Scandalous. The taste is close to the real thing, but once you are aware its fake you can’t help but notice its just a tad over the top. Yo, Yoplait, lemon juice won’t prevent scurvy in our kids. We are shelling out for fruit yogurt here. Make with the fruit! That 80% shoulda coulda woulda been a 90%..

There are slighter problems in Tube-ville, too. Flavor names ‘Plutonik Peach’, ‘Volcanik Blueberry’ and ‘X-Tra Raspberry’ really grind my gears. Improper spelling is a pet peeve of mine, especially for commercial reasons. For every kid able to recognize or who has parents readily explaining the wordplay, there are probably several who are or do not. I fear their little sponge like brains will absorb this bastardization as fact, and believe companies should be more responsible with language use. Maybe I should make like yogurt and lighten up, but I don’t want my kid looking at a Kwik-E-Mart Cheez world and trusting it.

Anyway, Yoplait is missing the boat by only marketing to the elementary school kids. Tubes are a dream for toddler parents (flavored yogurt can be introduced once a baby turns one) looking for speedy snack delivery, and for anyone who loves yogurt in general. I would have dismissed this product for myself based on its appearance, had I not inspected the nutrition chart. For my needs, it would be great if Yoplait would add some more protein to the mix, but other yogurts offer that. In a pinch or for a richer treat the Tube works well. Adults sometimes need to grab n’ go too, after all.

Not bad, Yoplait. I look forward to trying other flavors, broadening from yesterday’s Hip Hop Grape and the X-Tra Raspberry eaten while typing this. Just please. Get fruity with it.

Oh, and thanks, Mom.


Hives Remedy Guru said:

Yolait tubes are also perfect for hiking, skiing, biking and other back-pack trips. No spoons necessary you just gotta love them:-)

March 5th, 2009 at 7:49 pm

Don’t Diss Yop said:

While I like Tubes and agree with most of what you say, I can’t understand your irrational dislike of Yop. “Kefir” is proof enough that drinkable yogurt has a long and wonderful history in cuisine, and deserves to exist! Boo on you!

September 21st, 2010 at 11:22 pm

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