Photo: Catherine Lamb

As a lactose-intolerant person who loves her morning yogurt & granola, I’ve tried my fair share of vegan yogurts. Usually I’m disappointed. Most plant-based yogurts are bitter or have an off-putting grainy texture; some just taste like a straight-up cup of either soy or coconut.

But at last I think I’ve found one plant-based yogurt to rule them all. Lavva, a product of New York state-based EVR Foods, is everything I’m looking for in yogurt, minus the dairy. It comes in a very appealing, brightly-colored packaging (no, that doesn’t affect the taste, but still — nice), and it’s made of just a few, pronounceable ingredients: coconut water and cream, plantains, cassava, vanilla extract, lime juice, fruit, live vegan cultures, and pili nut.

According to the packaging, it’s the pili nut that gives Lavva its distinctive creaminess and rich texture reminiscent of full-fat yogurt. Flavor-wise, Lavva has a light sweetness and, most surprisingly, a true tanginess that I have yet to find in any other plant-based yogurt brand.

Photo: Catherine Lamb

Of the five flavors I tried, the Original was my favorite. It essentially tastes like a very mild coconut (not surprising, considering that coconut is the first ingredient listed on the label), but also has a nice tart kick. I could definitely see adding this to a morning smoothie, using it as a base for granola and fruit, or even swirling it on top of a savory vegetarian soup. I also liked the tropical flavors — Mango and Coconut — which gelled well with the coconut undertones.

Not all the flavors were home runs, though. The strawberry was slightly too acidic for my taste, and the vanilla — despite using real extract and vanilla bean — was lackluster.

A 150g single-serving container of Lavva contains 140 calories with only 6g of sugars. It also has 11 grams of fat (7g saturated), which is fairly high. However, it fits with recent trends in fat-forward, low-carb diets like keto and paleo. The one nutritional downside of Lavva is that each cup only has 2g of protein, which might give pause to those who turn to yogurt as a protein-packed breakfast option.

With the recent spike in demand for plant-based foods — especially plant-based dairy — it’s no surprise the vegan yogurt space is having a bit of a moment. Ripple, purveyor of pea protein beverages, came out with a yogurt which almost scarred me for all plant-based yogurts (though Ripple’s PR team reached out saying they’re reformulating their yogurt recipe). Israeli company Yofix, winner of PepsiCo’s European Nutrition Greenhouse Programme 2018, makes a yogurt out of a blend of oats, seeds, and legumes. U.K.-based Coconut Collaborative recently rolled out their coconut-based yogurt Stateside.

Photo: Catherine Lamb

Big dairy players are getting involved, too. Silk and SoDelicious, two of the biggest names in plant-based dairy (and both owned by Danone) have their own vegan yogurt lines. And just within the past month Chobani, the leading yogurt producer in the U.S., launched a new plant-based product which is set to hit grocery shelves nationwide mid-February.

After launching in 2018, Lavva’s yogurts are now available in roughly 1,000 stores around the U.S., including Whole Foods, Fresh Market, and Safeway (in some states). A cup of Lavva will set you back around $2.49, which is slightly more expensive than other plant-based yogurts on the market (Chobani’s “yogurt” cups cost $1.99 each and Silk is around $1.50).

I’m excited about the direction plant-based yogurt seems to be going — getting more creamy, nuanced, and generally closer to the “real thing.” Hopefully soon Lavva will have some competition.

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