The competition among the eateries in Ann Arbor that offer frozen desserts is heating up for the summer. Ice cream, the timeless staple for hot summer days, may now find a substantial rival in its healthier cousin — frozen yogurt.

According to a USA Today article on May 26, frozen yogurt sales generally increase by 20 percent every summer.

LSA senior Bria Gray, an avid frozen yogurt fan, can often be spotted at Yogobliss — a popular Ann Arbor store that opened in April that specializes in tart frozen yogurt.

“(Frozen yogurt) is really tasty, and I can justify it by telling myself that it’s healthy,” Gray said. “I think it also tastes better than ice cream.”

According to an article in Reuters last July, ice cream sales declined 3.9 percent from 2002 to 2007. During the same time, there was a 7.2-percent jump in frozen novelty sales — some of which can be attributed to frozen yogurt’s increasing popularity.

In an e-mail interview, Yogobliss co-owner Mack Kim said he plans to expand Yogobliss to include a new location on State Street.

“We are very interested in the Ritz Camera location, but we have had difficulty getting in contact with Ritz corporate to see if we can lease the property,” Kim wrote. “Hopefully, we will be able to find a second location soon.”

Joseph Ahn, the other co-owner of Yogobliss, said the reason they want to expand is because the store has been very successful in its current location.

“We’re doing pretty well, and we want to have multiple stores,” Ahn said.

Ahn said that he believes the reason for Yogobliss’ success is because frozen yogurt’s popularity appears to be a national trend.

“Nationwide, it’s growing pretty rapidly,” Ahn said. “If you see the trends of Pink Berry and Red Mango (other popular shops that specialize in frozen yogurt)… we just want to capture some of that trend.”

Kinesiology sophomore Jenna Spinei, a Yogobliss employee, said frozen yogurt is a growing trend that has just started to infiltrate the Midwest.

“In the west coast, (frozen yogurt) is really popular and in the east coast also,” Spinei said, “and it’s starting to come inwards (to the Midwest).”

Alyssa Krentzel, a School of Music, Theater & Dance sophomore and employee at the Stucchi’s State Street location, said she believes frozen yogurt’s surging popularity is due to its healthy ingredients.

“People who are looking for healthier alternatives go for the frozen yogurt,” Krentzel said.

At Amer’s Mediterranean Deli on State Street, there is an ample selection of tart frozen yogurt and premium ice cream. But Emily Brooks, an Amer’s employee and University alum, said most customers prefer frozen yogurt to ice cream.

“Frozen yogurt, definitely (is a more popular choice),” Brooks said. “It’s pretty trendy right now.”

Bubble Island on South University is also capitalizing on the frozen yogurt trend.

The local bubble tea vendor has been offering frozen yogurt for about three months now, according to LSA senior Kyle Welton, a Bubble Island employee.

“(Frozen yogurt) is catching hold a little bit, especially since now it’s summer,” Welton said.

He added that Bubble Island’s frozen yogurt sales have been growing each week because of the warm weather.

LSA freshman Matam Naamani, a first-timer at Yogobliss, said though he thinks that “ice cream is pretty timeless,” after trying frozen yogurt, he now believes frozen yogurt is better.

Yet Spinei thinks that ice cream and frozen yogurt each have their individual merits.

“Frozen yogurt is healthier, ice cream is more of a treat,” Spinei said.

Spinei believes that frozen yogurt — although a current trend — will never overtake ice cream in popularity.

“Ice cream is just its own category, with its own addicts,” she said.

Kevin Phelps, manager and co-owner of the Stucchi’s on State Street and South University, said more customers buy traditional ice cream, adding that yearly sales typically consist of 60 percent ice cream and 40 percent frozen yogurt.

But Ahn said he’s optimistic about frozen yogurt becoming an all-time favorite dessert like ice cream.

“With the way it’s growing, it certainly appears it could be a staple,” Ahn said. “I mean there’s a chance it could be a trend, but we’re just trying to capitalize on it. We’re hopeful that it’ll become a staple.”

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