Update: See Soy Yogurt Crisis: 2015 Edition.
You’re not crazy, there’s no soy yogurt anywhere. (Ok, almost none, in the US.)
I was entirely unaware of this until I needed some for baking a few weeks ago.
No problem, I’ve found soy yogurt in grocery stores nearby whenever I’ve needed it. First store — no soy yogurt. Second store — same. At a third store, I asked a clerk for help, certain I must have missed it. After some searching, he hands me almond yogurt. “Look — it says soy free.” I explain that I’m looking for the opposite — “full of soy”.
Finally I went to a fourth store, where I’m certain I’ve bought soy yogurt in the past. Still nothing. The clerk there told me that there’s a national shortage — “You can’t get it anywhere. There was only one factory in the US, and it’s been shut down.”
I bought some almond yogurt and used that instead, but I was curious how this could have happened.
Here’s what I’ve found out:
WholeSoy & Co explains that the facility that makes and packages their yogurt (a “co-packer” in industry terms) abruptly shut down, giving them only three days notice. They had been in the process of switching to another co-packer, and shipped some yogurt from the new facility, but ran into some problems, and the new facility may not be able to keep up with demand once it’s operational anyway.
They are now working on building their own facility, and hope to be back in production in the fall.
I can’t confirm what I was told — that all soy yogurt in the US was made by one facility.
It seems that Silk only currently manufactures soy yogurts with fruit, which are unsuitable for baking. It’s not clear to me if the supply chain for those products has been affected.
I’ve found at least one other vegan yogurt that has a very similar story to WholeSoy. Amande, an almond yogurt brand, explains that their producer informed them in April that they were shutting down, again with just 3 days notice. It seems likely that this was the same facility that WholeSoy was using.
There also seem to be very few soy yogurt producers, as many brands have recently discontinued their soy yogurt products.
Wildwood discontinued its soy yogurts between December 2012 and March 2013. No supply chain issues are cited in emails from the company.
So Delicious no longer lists soy yogurt on its products page, so these also seem to be discontinued.
Trader Joe’s brand soy yogurt has allegedly been affected by the shortage. I can’t confirm that their soy yogurt is a rebranding of WholeSoy yogurt, however the nutrition data for “Trader Joe’s Organic Vanilla Soy Yogurt” is identical to that of WholeSoy’s vanilla flavor. The plain flavor is not described as being organic, which I would think rules out WholeSoy as a producer.
It seems to be coincidence that the factory closure follows a period of consolidation of the soy yogurt market, where many brands of soy yogurt were discontinued, and mainstream non-dairy yogurt brands abandoned soy in favor of almond and coconut yogurt, leaving us without a soy yogurt supplier for the time being.
Strange times in the world of soy yogurt. For more, see the following links:
- Vegan yogurt crisis of 2013 article at Vegansaurus
- Soy yogurt freakout thread at the Post Punk Kitchen forums
- WholeSoy & Co blog
- Amande Yogurt site