When it comes to New York City frozen yogurt, the battle lines have been drawn. Are you part of the Pinkberry posse or a member of the Red Mango mafia?
As I stood in line at the Union Square Red Mango location last week, I got my first clue about just how serious the frozen yogurt war has become. A young guy behind me (or Mr. Pinkberry as I decided to call him) was confessing to his friend that he felt horrible, as a Pinkberry loyalist, about even entering a Red Mango store to sample the competition's treats.
His voice was actually trembling with emotion as his friend patted his shoulder comfortingly and assured him that it was better to be able to say he had tried Red Mango and still preferred Pinkberry.
Until that moment, I had naively believed that I could enjoy both Pinkberry and Red Mango. After all, both offer delicious, low-calorie frozen yogurt with lots of yummy topping choices (from fresh mango and berries to Cap'n Crunch to dark chocolate) and that slightly tangy taste that makes you feel like you're eating something healthy. But my encounter with Mr. Pinkberry made it very clear that I would have to choose sides.
I decided to do an unscientific survey of yogurt-loving friends and then a very serious taste test of treats from both Pinkberry and Red Mango.
- Pinkberry -- The celebrity choice and the company that started the natural frozen yogurt craze in the U.S.
- Red Mango -- The originators of the tangy, all-natural frozen yogurt recipe started in South Korea and arrived in New York in 2007.
In the end, I had to give the win to Red Mango. For me, the flavor is just a little bit creamier with a better balance of the sweet and tart. I also had to give Red Mango a few extra points for being the innovator, opening their doors in South Korea back in 2002 and allegedly inspiring the founders of Pinkberry.
In fact, even Mr. Pinkberry seemed to be thoroughly enjoying his dish of Red Mango when I last saw him, though I'm sure he felt conflicted about it later.