Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Fro-Yo Trend

I love frozen yogurt. I love it even better when it's self-serve, costs under 50 cents per ounce, is available in multiple flavors - at the same time - and has a ridiculous amount of possible toppings, which you can apply yourself. If you somehow haven't tried one of these magical fro-yo places, which seem to be appearing everywhere, you should. Right now. I'll be here when you get back.

Have you gone yet?

I was introduced to this phenomenon over the summer. One day, my mom sent me a text message that said something to the effect of, "There's a new frozen yogurt place called Redberry. It just opened today and they have free samples. You should go check it out." I wasn't really planning to go, but my boyfriend and I had nothing to do, and we went. The deliciousness, the wide selection, the low price, and the modern decor left me amazed. Redberry, I wondered, where have you been all my life? Apparently, one of the selling points for frozen yogurt is that it also has health benefits. I think that's because it makes you smile.

Later, I saw something come up in an ad on Facebook that said, "Pinkberry coming soon to Orlando!" Pinkberry? I thought, Is that like Redberry? Are there more of these wonderful places? When I arrived back at college at the beginning of this semester, I flipped through one of the student-targeted coupon books and counted coupons for four different fro-yo places in the area. When in the world did all these fro-yo places show up?

The first one around here may have been iKiwi. I had seen it, and heard about it, but I never had a reason to go in. If I had known what wonders lived inside, I could have asked so many friends to meet for yogurt instead of for coffee. At least I can do that now.

Of course now, there are others. The only one I've tried so far, besides Redberry, is Simply Frozen Yogurt, and it had the very same style establishment - that is, it was also very, very good. I still haven't been to iKiwi, nor have I tried Mochi, Mix, or Menchie's, but I will certainly try all of them if given the chance. As for Pinkberry, it turns out it isn't self-serve. Neither is Freshberry. That does not, however, preclude them from being delicious frozen yogurt experiences. If anyone is interested, I'll gladly do a follow-up on this blog post, with a little investigative journalism regarding which yogurt place reigns supreme.

There are quite a lot of them, though. I was fairly convinced they mushroomed overnight some time in June. After doing some research, it seems that it's actually old news in the other Orange County, and probably other parts of the country as well.

About three years ago - as in, just before the recession - fro-yo places started appearing all over the O.C. in California. Last year, places started closing. According to one article, it was because of the over-saturated market, the under-stimulated economy, or both. It is almost strange, then, that around the same time, my university's paper published an article about how the new craze was finally arriving here, with iKiwi. If you troll the news nowadays for Orange County, CA, regarding frozen yogurt places, you'll still see a mix of some places closing and other places making updates to what they do.

Remember back in 2008 when Starbucks, which really was everywhere, ended up closing a whole bunch of stores? Remember how you can still find them all over the place? The yogurt trend isn't over, either, and in Orange County, FL, it seems it's just beginning. Mmm.

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