Shop Owners Hope Yogurt Smooths A Path Out Of Greek Recession | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

Shop Owners Hope Yogurt Smooths A Path Out Of Greek Recession

Play associated audio

Greeks used to take their yogurt for granted. This year, at anti-austerity protests, they even threw it at their politicians. But Greeks are finally realizing yogurt might actually help the country during its worst recession in half a century.

In Athens, dozens of entrepreneurs have opened yogurt bars. The first one, called Fresko, opened last year on a pedestrian street near the Acropolis. It features four types of rich, strained yogurt kept cool in traditional ceramic pots.

"It's not like the yogurt you can buy in a supermarket. We take the yogurt from small producers around Greece, from villages and farms, and it's totally different than the one you taste [there]," says manager Georgia Ladopoulou.

Luis Felipe, a tourist from Bogota, Colombia, polishes off a cup of thick, sharp yogurt made from sheep's milk and slathered in thyme honey and walnuts. "I love it, it's really good. I've been tasting it in different flavors," he says.

The exploding popularity of Greek yogurt has turned yogurt into a growth industry in the United States. As we've reported, there are passionate disagreements over the identity of "real" Greek yogurt.

And last week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a "yogurt summit" in Albany to discuss easing some environmental restrictions that some say make life hard for dairy farmers. Greek yogurt takes more milk to make than regular yogurts do, and New York state is home to the Chobani brand, "the country's undisputed market leader in Greek-style yogurt," according to The New York Times. Interestingly, it's technically run by a Turkish immigrant.

And now the Greeks are finally realizing the food staple they long took for granted might actually be a little goldmine.

Konstantinos Laskos opened a Greek frozen yogurt shop called Snoyo four months ago. He says at least 70 shops advertising Greek-style frozen yogurt have opened in central Athens this year alone. "And the number is growing up every day," he says. "Because in Greece it's a new idea. So you can make some money from this."

But starting up a business is still a risk, he says. The economy is expected to contract by 7 percent this year.

If they survive, Laskos hopes Greek yogurt replaces souvlaki — the tasty but high-calorie kebab wrapped in pita bread and french fries — as the new Greek fast food.

It's healthier, he says — the perfect food for lean times.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

A Scientist's Journey From Beer To Microbiology To Bourbon Making

When his homebrew tasted bad, a college student decided to pursue microbiology. After more than a decade as a scientist, he's going back to brewing — but this time, he's moving up to bourbon.
NPR

A Scientist's Journey From Beer To Microbiology To Bourbon Making

When his homebrew tasted bad, a college student decided to pursue microbiology. After more than a decade as a scientist, he's going back to brewing — but this time, he's moving up to bourbon.
NPR

Dempsey Says If Needed He Would Recommend Ground Forces In Iraq

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told a Senate panel he supports the president's plan to combat Islamic State militants but that if it proved necessary, he would recommend U.S. ground forces.
NPR

Minecraft's Business Model: A Video Game That Leaves You Alone

Microsoft is buying the company that created the video game Minecraft, which has a loyal following in part because of the freedom it allows players — including freedom from pressure to buy add-ons.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.