Many people think that strawberries, apple slices or pineapple chunks are simply mixed into yoghurt. That’s not what happens, of course, but how is it actually done? What makes a good fruit yoghurt?
The adverts show us what we like to imagine: freshly picked raspberries, pears or blueberries being casually dropped into the yoghurt. And then the fruit yoghurt is ready. Although it’s not quite that simple, as a yoghurt made that way would not taste good for various reasons. But more about that later.
To ensure that the fruits do not spoil or lose their vitamins or flavour on the journey from the field to the yoghurt, they are deep-frozen immediately after being harvested. Larger fruits are first sliced or cut into chunks, while raspberries or blueberries are frozen whole. Simply mixing the fruit into the yoghurt at this stage would not be a good idea, for a number of reasons. Firstly, washing is not enough to neutralise the yeast bacteria and moulds that occur naturally in fruit. This can only be done by heating the fruit. Secondly, fruit pieces in a natural yoghurt is not enough to produce a tasty fruit yoghurt.
Similar to jam
“First we produce what is known as the fruit preparation,” says Andi Schnider, Product Developer at Emmi. This is rather unusual, as this ingredient is usually purchased. However, at Emmi we feel it is worthwhile producing most of the basic ingredients ourselves. Especially since the quality of the fruit preparation is crucial for the quality, taste and freshness of the fruit yoghurt. The fruit preparation is similar to jam. “We thaw the fruit, add sugar and thickening agent to it and heat everything together.” This eliminates unwanted bacteria. To preserve colour and flavour, heating and cooling take place within a few seconds.
Further flavours are added to the fruit preparation, depending on the yoghurt. Thickening agents consist mainly of starch, such as corn starch and pectin, which is produced from citrus fruits. They are necessary in order that the fruit pieces in the preparation do not separate from the liquid (by sinking or rising to the top). Vegetable colourings such as beetroot concentrate are also used.
The additives that may be used in a yoghurt vary. There are strict restrictions governing organic and Demeter yoghurts. Emmi “JogurtPur” is produced entirely without additives. This is done using an elaborate process that is kept absolutely secret by Emmi.
Finally, the fruit preparation is mixed together with the natural yoghurt. And then we have a real fruit yoghurt.
Almost 18 kilograms per person per year
In Switzerland, the most popular yoghurt varieties after natural yoghurt are mocha, strawberry, chocolate and raspberry. There is generally a very high demand for yoghurt in Switzerland. Each person eats around 18 kilograms of yoghurt per year, which is the equivalent of about one pot every three days. As the largest yoghurt manufacturer in Switzerland, Emmi accounts for a significant proportion of that. In Ostermundigen, for example, one million pots of yoghurt are produced... every day.