Greece Called—It Wants Its Greek Yogurt Back
Think of it as the Champagne of yogurts.
It's not just etiquette dictates that you can't just go around selling any old cheap bubbles labeled as "Champagne"—it's actually mandated in trade agreements and international laws. The same is true for trying to pass off glorified sawdust as the well-respected cheese known as Parmigiano Reggiano; not only is it bad manners, but it's factually inaccurate, a lack of respect to the artisans who have been making the real stuff the same way for centuries, and prohibited under EU regulations.
Now, much like its French and Italian counterparts, the Greek government is putting its foot down and trying to put a stop to the thick, white torrent of yogurt purporting itself to be "Greek."
According to the Dairy Reporter, the Greek Ministry of Agriculture is working hard to ensure that the term "Greek yogurt" applies only to yogurt from Greece, which has the particularity of being thicker because whey is strained out during production.
Under EU regulation, food and wine names can be protected when the products they describe are "produced, processed, and prepared in a specific geographical area, using the recognized know-how of local producers and ingredients from the region concerned" or their "quality or reputation is linked to the place or region where it is produced."
Those categories are referred to as protected designations of origin (PDOs) and protected geographical indications (PGIs), which oversee the production and labeling of everything from Champagne to Bronte pistachios to Lithuanian Liliputas cheese. Greek ministers are reportedly seeking to apply for both of these protections to preserve the integrity of their superior yogurt.
But, as the Dairy Reporter points out, even if these applications are successful, "Greek yogurt" will only be protected within the EU, meaning that stateside yogurt giants like Chobani can continue to use standard Greek yogurt nomenclature in their domination of the American yogurt market (and their legal domination of Alex Jones).
The Greek yogurt market is estimated to be $50 billion globally, most of which (39 percent) is sold in Europe. But there may soon come a day where the Greek yogurt you get in the EU ain't from anywhere but its namesake—Greece.