Lifestyle Inflation in The Yogurt Aisle

by Katy on April 8, 2014 · 38 comments

Remember how exciting it was when cordless phones first entered our lives? It was finally possible to be stuck on the phone with great-aunt Hilda while simultaneously switching a load of laundry! (Before that, I used an extra long curly cord which I stretched throughout my entire apartment!) Then came cell phones which quickly went from “for emergency situations” to “for checking our Facebook.”

Times change.

Cordless telephones are no longer the revelation they were in 1994, and although I resisted the temptation of a smart phone until a few months ago, it’s now an important tool in my daily life. And I no longer even have a landline.

Could I go back to a time when phone calls were made within a certain curly radius of our home phone? Of course I could. But will I?

Only if there’s a zombie apocolypse.

I was at Safeway yesterday, making sure to use my $10-0ff $50 coupon before it expired. (Please don’t envy my glamorous life, it’s very unbecoming of you.) I always ask my kids if there’s a treat they would like. My older son wanted a tin of smoked oysters and my younger son wanted a single-serve yogurt. I pointed my shopping cart towards to the yogurt aisle and was struck by how many Greek-style yogurts filled the shelves. Every major manufacturer had their own version, and there were lots of brands unheard of from even a year ago. I decided to go with Tillamook as A) it’s a local brand, and B) it was on sale.

The small Greek yogurt was $1 and the traditional version was 50¢.

When did Americans make the move to paying twice as much (or more) for their yogurt? Yes, it’s thicker and has more whey drained and is therefor pricier to produce, but c’mon people . . . weren’t we recently happy with regular yogurt?

Is Greek yogurt the new cell phone?

Lifestyle inflation, whether it’s a smart phone or a more expensive yogurt affects us. Not necessarily because the extra expense puts us in the poor house, but because once we’ve experienced a luxury product, it’s hard to go back to that which we once completely satisfied.

“Wow, this yogurt is super runny!”

I’m not suggesting that we resist all new technologies, but instead that we acknowledge that each newly purchased advance changes our perception. (Not to mention that disposing of all that extra whey has become an environmental nightmare for yogurt makers.)

Do you embrace each new technologic advance or do you hold out until it’s painful to not do so? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda M April 8, 2014 at 9:56 am

I must admit that I am “resistor”. I make my own yogurt and have a pay-as-you-go cellphone that is mostly reserved for emergencies. I don’t like change much at all and am not dazzled by all the new jazz out there….and really dislike having to learn any new technology. With that said, I do learn new things……when they benefit me or after I have decided that my olden broken widget must be replaced and by then most of the “bugs” are out of the new but by now gadget that everyone “must have”. By then the prize has usually dropped also.
I find comfort in the “same ole,same old”.


Kathleen April 8, 2014 at 10:03 am

Lovely post. I have two children under the age of three, and I see this lifestyle inflation all the time. Even before my kids were born I heard it. “Well, you have to get a wipe-warmer. Have you tried these pouches of pureed food? Disposable wipes just for wiping boogers.” And on and on.

It goes back to your last post though on how sticking to non-consumeristic ways of living can made socializing difficult. I smile and nod a lot at playgroups when a mom tells me about how great the pouches of pureed food are and two other moms bemoan the fact that their girls need shoes in different styles and colors each season.


Katy April 8, 2014 at 10:21 am

Those pouches infuriate me! And the worst part is that they’re often organic, which makes no sense. WHY would a company that is aware of not putting toxic stuff in kids’ food then create a plastic package that is pretty much un-recycleable? (Hard plastic and flexible plastics get recycled separately.) I still use my son’s glass baby food jars for bulk spices.

I wish stores like Whole Foods and New Seasons would refuse to sell them.



Kathleen April 8, 2014 at 4:00 pm

The companies who sell those aren’t interested in our children’s health or the environment. They are interested in market share.


Diane C April 9, 2014 at 6:23 pm

I like to think of it as “awfulsauce.”


Maggie April 8, 2014 at 12:00 pm

I have to admit I’m a huge fan of the pouches of baby food vs. the jars. They take up a lot less room in your diaper bag, and you don’t have to sit down to feed baby once they learn to hold it on their own. It’s neater. However, we do use the refillable versions, and I suspect that I would feel a lot differently if I were paying more to buy the pouches just to throw them out!


Lesley Parent April 8, 2014 at 10:04 am

Katy, I was making my own “greek” yogurt way before it was so hip. I would buy a tub of the off-brand and drain it overnight in a coffee filter which was placed over a bowl of some sort. The next morning … voila! Thicker yogurt with much of the whey drained away.

“Whey” cheaper, too. Ha ha.


Katy April 8, 2014 at 10:17 am

That is a great solution for those who want a thicker yogurt, but aren’t up to making it from scratch.

Thanks for sharing!



Nicole April 8, 2014 at 10:25 am

Try this for homemade greek/thick yogurt:

I found a different brand one (without the lid) at a thrift store, bought it and got a free! replacement lid from the company!


Maggie April 8, 2014 at 12:03 pm

I’m half and half. I have an older smartphone that can’t send picture texts, and I don’t plan to replace it until it totally falls apart. However, I do like things like the pouch baby foods (reusable ones, though, not the single serve ones). I pick and choose what I upgrade and what I keep around past its prime.


jill April 8, 2014 at 12:42 pm

I must be somewhere in the middle of the road – I don’t have a smart phone so that means I still use a laptop and a regular camera and I don’t have twitter or instagram – yet. But I do like the large tubs of plain greek yogurt for smoothies ( greek tends to have less sugar) cause I’m not so much of a flavored yogurt kind of girl I don’t dress very fashionably and I like non-mainstream music so I am not up on movies or current music or tv shows .My kids think I am in caveman times and my older relatives think I am very technologically savvy as they don’t even have computers.


ellen April 8, 2014 at 12:53 pm

I definitely go for the Greek, but not because it’s “trendy.” I’m a vegetarian and look for extra protein in food, and Greek yogurt usually has twice the protein as “regular” yogurt. That alone makes it worth the extra money for me! I buy the big tubs and add it to smoothies, I’m not a fan of the small individual servings and all the extra cups (though I’m certainly a recycler). Just my humble opinion, but Greek is the way to go! Oh, and I finally went the way of the smart phone too, after I lost my tiny pay-as-you-go phone last summer. It’s nice and convenient, but I’d probably still have my old one had I not left it in a hotel. Rats! I’m on FB occasionally, not on Twitter or Instagram. I’m usually slow to jump on technology bandwagons.


Michelle H. April 8, 2014 at 1:04 pm

I don’t understand the fascination with Greek yogurt. To me it’s grainy and the texture is so, so wrong.

I hadn’t been aware of the environmental impact of the extra whey, thanks for the link, but I’m sure some entrepreneurial mind will come up with a way to make some money from it.


Michelle H. April 8, 2014 at 1:05 pm

GREEK, not green. duh.


K D April 8, 2014 at 1:36 pm

I doubt many/any of your readers embrace each new technological advances. Every new thing that comes along seems to come with added expense, which I guess is the point for the manufacturers and so many things are quickly out of date (people buy the new iPhone when they don’t even know what it offers over the version they already own). I switched to a smart phone a little over a year ago, it was just time, given my need to be more connected on the go. But I don’t have a top end phone or a big (expensive) plan.

I love for my computers to run forever, I hate having to decide what to buy to replace something that no longer works. I am typing this using my four year old desktop.

I reject much of the new food out there. If I am happy with what I am eating I do not need to spend more to eat trendier food.


tna April 8, 2014 at 1:42 pm

I like that whole milk yogurt that has the cream on top the few times a year I have yogurt. And for some reason I thought all those whey protein powders in the supplement aisle and the increase of smoothie meals were tied to the Greek yogurt fad…”how are we ever going to market all this residue to the public?” I never bought a smart phone so family gave me one, and now they can reach me any time any where. Thank you technology. But I no longer need or have a desktop or laptop…I got one in my pocket.


Sarah G. April 8, 2014 at 1:46 pm

I am a holdout for sure. I feel slightly stupid sometimes at my ignorance of current things (and I am only 33 years old, so most of my peers are pretty tech-current). I only recently got a smartphone, but honestly I’m not in love with it. I want to go back to my old non-smartphone. I don’t like having the internet in my purse.
Also, we have no video game systems, no TV service, no streaming movie services. We don’t even do facebook. And forget about Twitter or anything else. Sometimes we feel out of the loop, but we love love love not having to “stay current.” We’re totally happy with the way things are.


Kate April 8, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Well, let’s put it this way – my phone’s a flip phone, my tv came from a friend’s garage(it’s at least 10 years old), and we only even upgraded to a DVD player because my father, who always buys the next shiny new electronic toy, got disgusted that he couldn’t watch DVD’s when he came to visit(again, probably 10 years ago). My husband once pulled his phone out at a science museum to show the kids that it was the exact same one in their “Obsolete Technology” display. We could certainly afford newer and better, but we just wait and wait and wait until things break or we just can’t stand it anymore, because he doesn’t care and it’s one area where I’m not frugal, but just plain cheap.


Michelle H. April 9, 2014 at 10:40 am

“My husband once pulled his phone out at a science museum to show the kids that it was the exact same one in their “Obsolete Technology” display.

I just snorted coffee! Thanks for the laugh.

My workplace takes donations of old cell phones to be given to abused women to call 911. My coworkers called me over to laugh at how outdated three of the donated phones were, and I realized they were nicer than the pre-paid flip phone my husband has been carrying for the last decade.


marieann April 8, 2014 at 2:19 pm

I also make my own yogurt. And that phone you spoke about…. attached to the wall…. with the long cord…yup! it’s in my kitchen. No cell phones, cable, netflix, facebook, twitter…I do have the internet so I’m not a total Luddite.
I also have a computerized embroidery sewing machine so I spend my money where my interests are


Diane April 8, 2014 at 2:36 pm

I would embrace all new technology if I could afford it. But, alas…I cannot. So I have a non smart phone and laptop as my “gadgets”. No landline since 2006. It’s OK, but some day I would love an iPhone and an iPad.


Jean April 8, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Yup! That phone is in my kitchen too! And there is a flip phone in my purse that my grown children refer to as “Mom’s walkie-talkie”. I work on a computer all day, I have no desire to carry one around in my purse or to be so connected–don’t text, tweet, twitter or facebook.
But you might get an actual letter in the mail from me occasionally!
We do have broadband internet service, but when our cellular carrier offered us a free I-phone recently, I decided that learning to use another gadget was just a stressor I didn’t need.
However, I do love Greek yogurt–mainly because it reminds me of the old Dannon fruit on the bottom yogurt of my youth. I don’t like the pre-blended, whipped, overly sweet concoctions that have come to pass as yogurt. The house brand at Aldi’s is not so much more expensive than regular.


Trish April 8, 2014 at 2:42 pm

I once read ‘A luxury once sampled becomes a necessity’. That is very true. While I don’t embrace all the new fads- I don’t have a smart phone, and we don’t stream video- I do have a few luxuries that I don’t want to, having sampled them, do without. For instance, our car happened to have heated seats. I absolutely adore them!! But that’s as far as I go with car accessories. Being mindful of this, I am careful to resist upgrades, at least until they become the norm, like TV remotes and cordless phones.


Kate April 8, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Mmmmm…..heated seats. 🙂 I told my husband that’s my one non-negotiable when we have to replace my 12-year-old minivan. Oh, and that it be used. 🙂


Shelly April 8, 2014 at 3:53 pm

I have a pay as you go cell phone, nothing fancy, it’s a dumb one and costs me $30 a year since I use it very rarely.
We still have rotary phones in our home, two of them that we use. My husband loves them. But we do embrace new technology.

As far as yogurt goes, I’ll take cheap and runny over Greek any day. Although I did get a good deal on Tillamook Greek yogurt last week at 12 single serves for $2. So I can be persuaded if the price is cheap enough.


patti April 8, 2014 at 4:18 pm

I never got the Greek yogurt thing either … but it is because I don’t like thicker yogurt although I do get that it has twice the protein so I guess those who are looking for that have made it more popular. I have made my own yogurt in the crock pot but now I just buy the big tub at Aldi’s. I get the vanilla yogurt and add my own fruit. I do like new technology but hate when it is just ridiculous… such as the battery operated bubble maker someone gave my son when he was two.


Pat April 8, 2014 at 4:39 pm

Oh greek yogurt, the bane of my existance. None of the local grocery chains in my town carry anything but greek anymore. My hubby is very fond of Stoneyfield but it is almost impossible to find. If you don’t want greek you get nothing.


Lesley April 8, 2014 at 5:58 pm

I didn’t realize greek yogurt cost twice as much! Back when I could still eat yogurt (dairy allergy now) I also strained mine in a paper-towel-lined colander over the sink.

As for “lifestyle inflation,” I try to be picky. There’s a lot of stuff I avoid: no car, no tv or cable, no gaming system. We build our own computers and cook our own food.

I do like my smartphone–but I don’t wait in line for the newest thing; I keep them until I can get one with my phone allowance every two years. Last time I made $50 between selling back my old one and getting a rebate!


marie April 8, 2014 at 6:21 pm

I keep trying Greek and still don’t care for it, too grainy.
My computer is a 5 year old desktop with vista.
My cellphone is a pay-as-you-go, which since we have no cell service at our house. $10 usually lasts 2 months.
Still have a house phone because no cell service at the house.duh!
Do have high speed internet, because that’s all that’s available in the boonies.
No gaming systems, I do have roku, though I still don’t get how it But my one new thing I love is my Kindle. Thought I’d hate it, but my daughter convinced my to try it.


Annie April 8, 2014 at 7:27 pm

I may be in the minority here, but I’d rather have the Greek yogurt than the regular stuff. The extra protein keeps me feeling fuller much longer. When I used to eat the “runny” stuff it left me hungry an hour later and so I would spend more money on another container or some other snack. I buy the Greek version in bulk since my husband likes it too, so it costs only pennies more, but worth it since we would likely eat junk instead.

As for my phone, I still have a flip-phone and refuse to get a smart-phone until I have absolutely no choice. We have very basic cell service and I’d rather save the funds I would use for all those smart-phone features to keep my landline since we’ve been through numerous blackouts, (including after 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy), and our cell phones were useless then. Thankfully our landline worked so we could stay in touch with family or make emergency calls for neighbors.

I still have my “old” 4th generation iPod, I gave my first generation one to my Aunt who still uses it since she didn’t need as much storage as I did. People keep telling me to get an iPhone and use it for playing music as well, but my iPod still works beautifully.


Barbara April 8, 2014 at 7:51 pm

I don’t think Greek yogurt is such a big deal here in
Australia but I make my own yogurt so I wouldn’t
know what’s out there. I do have to admit that I’m
such a Luddite I don’t even use my ancient mobile
phone anymore (the simcard ran out and I couldn’t
be bothered replacing it.) My husband does have
a smartphone but doesn’t use it much and
certainly won’t be upgrading anytime soon (we
still have a landline and a 20 year old plug in
phone). I can’t be bothered with a lot of technology
unless I can see a clear benefit. I hate shopping
for example so I buy most things online but I’ve
never seen the point of Facebook and a lot of
other things people can’t seem to live without.


Allison April 8, 2014 at 8:18 pm

I dread new technology. I finally get comfortable using the computer/phone/TV/tablet/etc. and it becomes easy and automatic, and then it breaks, or my husband decides it must be “upgraded”. Part of his desire to “upgrade” is reasonable – he knows the manufacturers will fail to support their technology within a couple of years of initially creating it. Then we have to waste time buying and learning to use new stuff (it never works the same way as the old stuff.) It is always, miraculously, more expensive than the old stuff. The old stuff is never recyclable in any meaningful way. To opt out entirely out of this system is possible, but would force us to lead a radically different life from our community and peers.


dusty April 9, 2014 at 3:38 am

I am also a vegetarian and always looking for ways to get more protein in my diet that’s why I eat greek yogurt. I always try to get a deal though. I had to buy a new computer last weekend due to Microsoft no longer supporting XP. My computer was from 2005. The monitor was from 1998. Went and bought an all in one Dell for 500. The monitor in 1998 was 900!! Of course I also had to buy a new keyboard since my ergonomic was not compatible, tried to get an adapter for it, no luck, so had to get a new one. I have to admit the new desktop is beautiful, so quiet and I have a lot more space on my desk but if I didn’t have to spend the money I wouldn’t have. I also have a flip phone that I love. People are always telling me to get a smart phone so I can use the internet. I’ve never had a reason to use the internet while I’m out and about. It sometimes is tough to be frugal in a world where we are constantly bombarded with purchasing. Just last week I went to Goodwill and purchased 2 dresses, 2 pairs of shorts, 2 blouses and 1 pair of shoes for $23. I told a friend of mine that (she always complains about having no clothes and no money to buy any) and I could almost hear the disgust in her voice. I suggested she try a thrift store and she said she would but I know she won’t.


Louise April 9, 2014 at 6:56 am

I was looking at all those fancy-pants yogurts the other day too! I couldn’t find one that didn’t have cornstarch or some other thickener added to it (except for some plain ones). So, although they look exotic and glamorous I’m not drawn to them. I’ll stick with my Balkan style 3.5%-6% fat plain yogurt that I can use as a substitute for sour cream, add fruit to, and use in baking.


Nancy from Mass April 10, 2014 at 5:48 am

Your older son wanted smoked oysters?!?! i think that was the one thing that threw me on your post. I don’t think i’ve ever heard of a teen wanting smoked oysters!
I actually prefer greek yogurt (and used to strain my quart size of regular yogurt. I am also vegetarian so it does give me more protein. My son prefers regular old Stonyfield (vanilla or plain only) so i stock up when i can get that for .50 per cup.
i am using the pay as you go phone i bought in 2008. it has a qwerty board (but the c and space bar stick sometimes). i would like to get a new phone (i actually have had a contract plan since 2011 but didn’t see a need to get a new phone – hubby needed more minutes than the p.a.y.g. plan offered) but it seems like my only choices are really cheap flip phones or buying a larger phone with a data plan. i dont want a data plan, i have a laptop (work) and an emachine computer at home that we bought in 2006 or 7. so, i keep using my sticky finger phone (that sounded kinky – sorry) and my son will keep using his cracked screen phone hes’ had since 2011.


Linda in Mass April 11, 2014 at 4:36 am

I tend to wait for technology and “new” things. I am just now upgrading to a smart phone. I resisted for so long but find that with my business, it would be a great tool. I bought an iPad last year when my company switched to a web based system and love having it. So much easier to carry than my laptop.

I just got texting and Facebook a little over a year ago. I still hate to text but there are people who do not talk on the phone. And, yes, I have 2 corded phones in my house. When we lost electricity for 5 days last year, I was happy that my phone still worked. Most of the people I know had to run their cars to charge their cell phones because they were the only ones that worked.


Carla April 14, 2014 at 10:33 am

I tend to resist, and I have a perfect example of why. I am trying to convince myself that baking cookies on a greased cookie sheet is just fine. I recently ran out of parchment paper after buying-it-on-an-incredible-deal, but now I think I’m loving that stuff. It’s completely superfluous, but I want it anyway. What I have will work just fine, just not as neatly.

If I resist, then I don’t know what I’m missing!


Marianna May 1, 2014 at 8:22 am

I don’t understand why they don’t use the whey to make bread. I’m sure it would allow them to cut out some of the artificial fillers that are otherwise inserted to add nutrients.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: