Why Frozen Yogurt Might Be Making A Comeback

Quick: what do Brood X — the 17-year cicadas that emerged with a vengeance in 2021 — and frozen yogurt have in common? Hint, it's not the noise they make. Or their geographic prevalence. Or hidden insects inside your favorite dairy concoction, thank God. We'll leave that to the likes of Bear Grylls, Gordon Ramsay, and Andrew Zimmern.

No, the correct answer is that they're both cyclical. While the cyclical nature of frozen yogurt might not be quite so obvious, it's a thing (per The Takeout). Frozen yogurt was first created in 1978 by a guy named H. P. Hood, who called it frogurt and sold it at Brigham's in Boston (via Frozen Yogurt Mix). The advantage of froyo (as it came to be known) was that it tasted much like soft-serve ice cream, but was intended to be better for you: a key difference as many Americans became more health-conscious and concerned about their saturated fat intake. The healthier frozen treat had its first big round of success in the '80s, when it was all the rage, thanks in part to TCBY (The Country's Best Yogurt) shops expanding all around the country, per Frozen Yogurt Mix. Things quieted down in the '90s, but froyo came roaring back in the mid-aughts, due in large part to the emergence and huge success of Pinkberry (via Refinery 29).

The dessert choice of a new generation?

Frozen yogurt has come and gone several times since it first emerged as a dessert contender, with stores popping up all over the country as well-liked chains expand and then many (though not all!) closing down as popularity wanes. But some believe we're due for another wave (per The Takeout and Refinery 29), sparked by a couple of key elements in conjunction with the regular ebbs and flows of food trends.

The first is increased concerns about healthy eating, especially as awareness of the importance of good gut bacteria becomes more prevalent: Yogurt (frozen or otherwise) is great at helping repopulate the right kind. The second concerns changes and improvements to yogurt and its accessories. One of the key innovations started by Pinkberry, now standard in most frozen yogurt chains, is the self-serve model, and the choose-your-own toppings bar. This allows for a high level of customization and a guilt-free sampling experience which are also extremely flexible as toppings can be switched in and out very quickly since they don't go directly into the dessert itself.

Forecasters are pointing to a comeback (per Fortune Business Insights). There are some who believe Juanita Velasco (who ran her own froyo business for decades) that this time around, "Yogurt's here to stay [now]" (via Refinery29). Fortunately, the froyo surge isn't nearly as noisy or destructive as some other cyclical events we've experienced lately. And a whole lot tastier than cicadas, even if they're dipped in chocolate.