October 30, 2019


With vegan and other health-related trends gaining traction in SA, this humble foodstuff has had something of a renaissance in recent years.

The Vegan Option

Helen Oxtoby, Owner of Utopia Foods, realised the massive requirement for vegan yoghurt when she went vegan about five years ago. At the time, there was a range of imported long-life plant milks on the market, and some processed plant cheeses – but no cultured yoghurt alternatives, except a processed soya variety. Thus, the vision for Utopia is to provide a range of cultured dairy alternatives with the highest quality ingredients – free from preservatives and additives.

“Utopia yoghurt remains the only 100% cashew nut yoghurt in the South African market. We use a vegan yoghurt culture – the same probiotic bacteria strains traditionally used for yoghurt-making, but grown without milk or lactose. Additionally, instead of corn-starch, we use a pure citrus pectin thickener,” says Helen. “Our core market remains vegan and plant-based customers – as well as those avoiding dairy for allergy or health reasons.”

With regard to their product range, Utopia Foods produces cultured cashew nut yoghurts in several flavours, as well as cultured cashew nut cheeses – which are aged and dried using traditional techniques.

Utopia Foods’ products are available in many of the large Spar stores in Cape Town, as well as Wellness Warehouse stores and independent delis and health shops. Helen and her team are working on growing their market share in the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.

Another entrant to the vegan market is LeCoquin Foods, which produces a vegan range that includes soft serve mix, ice creams, yoghurts, cheeses, cream cheese and even hot chocolate mix that only requires water. 

Antoine Robert, CEO of LeCoquin Foods feels that his vegan yoghurt is gaining popularity due to its good quality ingredients and the intricate, slow process that goes into each product. Anton created LeCoquin Foods after discovering that he was lactose intolerant about 4 years ago.  “The gap for vegan yoghurt and more importantly for dairy alternatives due to dairy allergies, the various diets that exclude dairy and the need to live a healthier lifestyle,” says Antoine.

LeCoquin Foods’ products can be found at Palman Foods and selected Spar stores.

Back to Basics

Companies such as Lancewood and Parmalat have dominated the local yoghurt market for decades, thanks to their wide product range, easy accessibility to products, and affordable price points.

Parmalat is one of the major players in the South African dairy industry and has been active in the South African dairy industry since 1998. It’s brand focus is on quality and the annual array of national and international awards its products receive are testament to this. Parmalat SA (Pty) Ltd and Parmalat Africa (including South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Swaziland and Mozambique) form part of Lactalis, a French international dairy company.

Fat-Free Fabulite Yoghurt is a fabulous option for consumers who are looking for healthier yoghurt options. Fabulite is available in both smooth and fruit varieties in a range of flavours. The range aims to support a healthy lifestyle, without compromising on great taste and enjoyment.

Fabulite’s entire range is suitable for diabetics and is endorsed by the GI Foundation and Diabetic Foundation of South Africa. Parmalat Fabulite is yoghurt which means it contains live cultures that aid digestion to add to your overall good health. Fabulite also carries the Parmalat quality guarantee of superior dairy and other ingredients.

The Gourmet Greek

Based in the heart of the Midlands, KwaZulu-Natal on a small estate, the Gourmet Greek team hand-crafts and sell a unique range of cheeses and double- thick, traditionally strained Greek yoghurt.

The Gourmet Greek is a family business which was founded in 2012 and since then has been passionately producing excellent cheeses and yoghurt.

The Gourmet Greek yoghurt is a very special yoghurt indeed. The Gourmet Greek takes pride in producing this yoghurt the way it was meant to be made, with no added starch that many commercial brands use to get that thick sought-after smooth texture. They use predominantly Jersey’s milk because they are known to produce the richest milk of all dairy breeds which has a distinct creamy flavour.

Skinny Greek Yoghurt Chicken


4 Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 Cup Double Thick Gourmet Greek Yogurt
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese – Grated
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 1/2 Teaspoon Seasoned Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper


1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2) Combine greek yoghurt, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, seasoned salt, and pepper in a bowl.

3) Line baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.

4) Coat each chicken breast in greek yoghurt mixture and place on a foiled baking sheet.

5) Bake for 45 minutes.

6) If you would like to brown the top, turn the broiler on high for 3 minutes or so. Remove from oven once top is golden brown.


Yoghurt bowl:
125 ml milk
60 ml oats
3/4 Avocado
2 Bananas
2.5 ml spirulina powder
125 ml LANCEWOOD® Double Cream Vanilla Yoghurt


Yoghurt bowl:
Place the milk, oats, avocado, banana, spirulina powder and LANCEWOOD® Double Cream Vanilla Yoghurt in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add extra milk if the mixture is too thick. Pour smoothie into a bowl.

To Serve:
Fresh fruit of your choice (kiwi, blueberries or strawberries)
15 ml granola
Edible flowers

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