Cost of Frozen Yogurt

One of my favorite places to visit when I'm in Manhattan is Pinkberry. In recent years, the froyo craze has been spreading like wildfire, and even I have trouble shying away from all of the media hype of the new food obsession. Honestly, froyo really is amazing. Sure, it's still a frozen dessert and you really should control your portions, e.g. not eat it every morning for a "balanced breakfast," but the sheer amazement that I get whenever I spoon up a mouthful of that delicious creamy tang is already enough to tell me that it's worth whatever I have to pay to get this kind of euphoria.

The only problem? It's really not worth so much. Unfortunately, while froyo joints are common and widespread, they're still pretty expensive to purchase by the cone. A single scoop of froyo already costs nearly $3 at stores, such as 16 Handles, Red Mango, and, of course, Pinkberry. Adding topping usually costs even more. There are even some chains, such as Let's Yo!, which charge by the ounce. What's to keep people from grabbing an entire ounce of nuts, such as walnuts which can cost up to 60 cents an ounce, and paying a measly 50 cents an ounce? Well, there's actually nothing keeping them from doing that, if it's in their heart's desire, but doesn't that kind of defeat the entire purpose of travelling to a frozen yogurt store in the first place?

Indeed, the atmosphere even contributes to the "hip" setting of froyo. In many frozen yogurt stores, the sophisticated minimalist design that so differentiates it from any normal ice parlor entices the customers to keep coming back. When they're high tech and decked out with iPads, TVs, and touchscreens like at Let's Yo!, there's no reason why the store owners can't raise their prices to almost $5 for a small cup of yogurt. After all, when the customers are paying for the full experience, there's justification.
Doubtless, most people are going to think like this. In fact, there's no other way for the stores to be making such a great profit. Even ice cream-based franchises such as Ben and Jerry's and Baskin Robbins have incorporated frozen yogurt into their menus. A classic example of supply and demand, the more customers crave it, the higher the prices can rise, and the greater the profit.

But in all truth, what is the real cost of a simple small cup of froyo? After all, how much different can it possibly be from its frozen dairy dessert cousin, ice cream? Adding together the raw materials - sugar, yogurt, and various flavorings - the price for homemade yogurt comes out to almost 25 cents an ounce, a large margin cheaper than the 50 cents an ounce offered at most stores and a great deal cheaper than the $5 for a small cup. So long as you have a soft serve ice cream maker, you can easily make your own froyo for a fraction of the price at any frozen yogurt store.
With the onslaught of yogurt stores popping up every few square miles, it's pretty obvious that we're not going to be craving frozen yogurt too often. Recently, the franchises have even begun to get creative with their offerings, including frozen Greek yogurt, fat-free, and sugar- free varieties for all of those dieters out there; froyo cakes and pies modeled after the popularity of Carvel's ice cream cakes; smoothies; and milkshakes. And we can never forget the endless combinations of choices at the toppings bar - variety is the spice of life!

So, is frozen yogurt worth its price? You can certainly save a lot of money by making your own at home, especially if you plan on eating more than one ounce. But if it's the experience you're after, by all means, hop on over to your nearest froyo joint and have fun! But don't come running back that we didn't warn you!