Cottage cheese and yogurt

Cottage cheese is probably not the first thing most of us reach for in the grocery store's refrigerator aisle, but maybe it should be, according to a UC Davis professor of food science and technology.

Moshe Rosenberg and his research were recently featured in The Atlantic in an article called “Cottage Cheese Is the New Greek Yogurt.” The piece dives into the reasonings behind why cottage cheese has never experienced the same fame of yogurt.

So why is cottage cheese often seen as less appealing?

Rosenberg believes that cottage cheese’s lack of popularity has to do with the fact that it hasn't changed much. On the other hand, yogurt has shifted with the times to add a variety of tastes and textures, including Greek yogurt.

“I would dare to say that had there been the same effort to dress up cottage cheese with new flavors and new ingredients, we would see a much higher consumption of cottage cheese,” Rosenberg said in The Atlantic article. “Cottage cheese has been neglected, and the new king has been crowned.”

Surprising to no one is that yogurt is eaten far more frequently than cottage cheese. According to the article, Americans consume about 15 pounds of yogurt per capita, in comparison to just two pounds of cottage cheese. Part of this can be attributed to diet fads over the years, including the late-1990s spike in low-fat foods and a distrust in anything “creamed”.

However, full fat cottage cheese is only 4 percent fat, whereas other cheeses, like cheddar, are about 30 percent fat, as noted in The Atlantic article.

But what would happen if that fat was removed from the cottage cheese? Rosenberg’s lab spent two and a half years answering that question, but the results were less than appealing.

“The minute a little bit of cream was taken out of the product, it significantly affected its quality attributes, especially the texture,” Rosenberg said.

Aside from the fat content that some are skeptical of in cottage cheese, Greek yogurt emerged as the go-to dairy product that's also high in protein.

A closer look at both these health trends revealed some surprising results: A 100-gram serving of full-fat cottage cheese contains 11.5 grams of protein and 4.3 grams of fat. The same amount of full-fat Greek yogurt has about 8.7 grams of protein and nearly as much fat (4.1 grams).

So, maybe it’s time we take a second look at that little tub of “lumpy white stuff” and give it a chance. We may be surprised!