The Untold Truth Of Danimals

Oh, Danimals. It's right up there with all the other nostalgic kids' snacks: 6-foot-long rolls of pink bubblegum, Lunchables, and those adorable little Cosmic Brownies. Before you know it, you're blasting NSYNC and wondering why we can't return to simpler times. Many of these colorful favorites have dwindled over time, like Jell-O's pudding pops, and Nintendo-themed cereal (via MSN). But Danimals has continued to thrive since the kid-friendly product was launched in 1994 (via Funding Universe). 

Undeterred by the test of time, Danimals continues to offer its brightly colored cups of yogurt in its signature simple flavors like strawberry banana, raspberry, and vanilla. The popular brand has experimented over the years, releasing squeezable pouches, and its iconic kid-friendly smoothie, which even offers orange cream, watermelon, and cotton candy varieties. Your inner child is definitely smiling right now.

Turns out, Danimals is simply one chapter in a long, winding history. And before its parent company, Dannon, arrived in the United States, yogurt was little-known. A spoonful of success? We think so (via Grub Street).

Its parent company is over a century old

A century ago, people didn't eat yogurt in the United States. They were snacking on newly-invented Oreos, Tastycakes, and marshmallow fluff, according to The Daily Meal. Yogurt was not a food of choice, and "probiotic" was definitely not a word you threw around at the grocery store.

Enter Isaac Carasso, a doctor with Greek and Sephardic Jewish roots. While living in Barcelona, Carasso began studying probiotics to find a cure for intestinal disorders, according to The New York Times. By 1919, Carasso developed his own yogurt, a familiar food in his home country of Greece. He named the brand after his son, whose Catalan nickname was none other than Danon.

His son, Daniel Carasso, took up the family business, and the yogurt began making waves in pharmacies throughout Europe. But when World War II hit, the younger Carasso left for the United States. With his own son and some close friends, he continued to build the brand.

One simple step helped yogurt rise to popularity in the United States: In 1947, creators added strawberry jam to the yogurt. If you're a fruit-on-the-bottom enthusiast, you can thank the early innovators of Danone yogurt, the parent company that produces Dannon and Danimals.

Danimals gave us a chance to hang with the Sprouse twins

If you've ever wanted to kick back with Dylan and Cole Sprouse — a.k.a. the beloved stars of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody — Danimals was ready to make your dream come true. Over the years, the celebrity twins starred in an assortment of Danimals commercials, advertising everything from a Caribbean vacation sweepstakes, to the Danimals Crush Cup — a product that invited kids to squeeze the yogurt out of a specially-designed cup, no spoon necessary (via Packaging World). Danimals even offered avid yogurt-eaters a video-making contest. The grand prize? To hang with Dylan and Cole Sprouse in Hollywood, plus, as the commercial states, $10,000. 

While it seems they've moved on from the yogurt game, the Sprouse twins haven't forgotten to tweet about Danimals every once in a while, which sends fans into a bit of a flurry (via Twitter).

Danimals is releasing a kids' yogurt filled with probiotics

Even today, Danimals is finding ways to uphold the legacy of Isaac Carasso — the original father of Danone who sought to mitigate digestive problems. Now, Danimals is marketing a new, low-fat yogurt that will hold "billions" of probiotics, according to a statement from Danone North America. The product, known as Super Danimals, is designed to nurture and strengthen the immune systems of the children who eat the sweet yogurt. According to the company, the snack will be fortified with vitamins C and D, and will have no artificial flavoring, though the yogurt cups will feature cherry vanilla, blueberry, and strawberry flavors.

It's no surprise that the yogurt brand took this route. In recent years, the company has reduced the sugar content of its kids' smoothies and yogurt, according to CBS. Clearly the company is listening to consumers, and helping serve today's kids just as they did in the '90s.