In late September, German dairy company Müller quietly announced that it would be adding two new flavors to its existing Müllerlight line of fat-free yogurts. In addition to standards like Strawberry and Cherry, and the more adventurous Rhubarb Custard and Lemon Sherbet, Müller said that it would soon start selling six-packs that contained half Gin & Tonic-flavored yogurt and half Pink Gin & Elderflower yogurt.
"Gin is the UK’s favorite spirit, and now people can enjoy the taste in a yogurt that is also fat free, high in protein and contains 0% added sugar," Michael Inpong, Müller's chief marketing officer, droned at the time. The two yogurts do contain gin, but only 0.5% alcohol—roughly the same alcohol content as a non-alcoholic beer.
The £3 six-packs slowly started to appear on the shelves at Tesco and Asda supermarkets throughout the United Kingdom, and other than some dairy-aisle early adopters and a consumer analytics Twitter account, no one seemed to take notice. But now commercials for the yogurt are running on both early morning and prime-time television, and some people are, well, angry.
A North Yorkshire physician is one of them, and he's claiming that the new-ish products could potentially be problematic. Dr. Nigel Wells criticized Müller on Twitter, and then called out four retailers that stock the yogurts, as well as television network ITV, which is airing the ad.
"Given the problems we have with alcohol as a society—which is very visible in our GP practices and A&E departments—the creation of alcohol inspired yogurts seems unnecessary and counterproductive to public health," he told the BBC.
"I welcome public discussion and debate around our use of alcohol, which clearly can be enjoyed sensibly, but in light of the Dry January campaign and the health benefits it brings I question whether this product is really necessary."
Wells' tweet was lightly ratio'ed, as several people asked him whether he wanted a crackdown on other "unnecessary" products like Guinness-flavored potato chips or rum raisin ice cream. Still others, unprompted by Wells' tweets, were just confused by the yogurt's very existence. ("Why," "bonkers," and the vomiting emoji seemed to be common responses.)
But… this isn't the first time gin has been part of a healthy breakfast (so to speak). In 2017, Sainsbury's supermarket announced that it would stock Rachel's Greek Style Lemon and Gin Yogurt, which also contained 0.5% alcohol. It has also previously sold its own house brand Pink Grapefruit & Gin West Country Yogurt.
"They're not necessarily very strongly flavored—not least because if it's in the yogurt aisle and it's notably alcoholic, there might be confusion at the till," Nick King, a spirits teacher at the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, said when that gin yogurt launched almost three years ago.
"As an idea, it makes perfect sense in cashing in on and appealing to those people. We're looking at a generation that's much more interested in flavor and interesting and exciting things."
In other words, here's a solid OK BOOMER to anyone who's bothered by it.