Is This $25 Yogurt Worth the Hype? I Tried It
04.13.18

I follow a number of wellness influencers on Instagram out of both personal and professional interest: personal because I am eager to learn about anything that will make me look or feel slightly more dazzling and professional because I am invested in communicating important developments to your eyeballs so we can discuss them at length together in the comment section of this very website.

One such development came to my attention via Jeannette Ogden, the influencer behind Shut the Kale Up, who started regularly posting Instagrams of food topped with something called coconut cream vegan probiotic yogurt from a company called The Coconut Cult.

Beyond the fact that this mysterious yogurt looked less like yogurt than it did a cross between cottage cheese and whipped cream, the words “coconut” (yum) and “cult” (ooOooooOo) had me immediately intrigued. It took about four-Instagrams-worth of salivation before my curiosity got the better of me and I went into full stalker mode.

I started by clicking on The Coconut Cult’s handle and was greeted by the above photo of yogurt exploding like volcanic lava from the top of a jar like a fun science experiment. “We grow so many active strains into each individual jar that occasionally…it bubbles out like Kombucha,” the caption reads. Bubbly yogurt??? Gross. But also maybe yum.

Upon further investigation, I learned that the “active strains” refer to the 800 billion highly active probiotics that The Coconut Cult ferments into every quart of yogurt sold, including 15 strains of human probiotics, which apparently stick around in your gut for a longer period of time: “In my research and experience, resident forming strains like those in this yogurt—versus the transient ones in most cultured foods—make it unique and potentially more helpful than typical probiotic food products,” nutritionist Kimberly Snyder told Well+Good.

The only hitch? It costs a whopping $25 per jar, i.e. as much as a yoga class or two sad desk lunches, take your pick.

“The price is due to the super-high-quality probiotic strains and the fresh, high-quality coconuts,” The Coconut Cult founder Noah Simon-Waddell told Mind Body Green. “We don’t use any sugar, or any filler, which is really hard to find in store-bought yogurt, especially nondairy ones.” In other words, it’s not really a yogurt so much as it’s a probiotic supplement (which explains why the nutritional information on the back of each jar specifies a rather meager two-tablespoon serving size, which means a jar should last you 16 $1.50 yogurt breaks).

At this point in my research, I started seeing The Coconut Cult appear in my Instagram feed and my Instagram Discover feed with the same frequency as cute babies (sometimes simultaneously, per above), niche fashion start-ups and slime. It was EVERYWHERE — and not just on wellness influencers’ accounts. Even Kiernan Shipka, whose career and life I’ve followed with great loyalty ever since she had the best eyebrows on Mad Men at age 10, gave it a shoutout on her Instagram stories.

The Coconut Cult has certainly made good on its name. Not only has their Instagram account amassed tens of thousands of followers, but they also started selling The Coconut Cult merch — a logo-adorned “yoga tank” that, somewhat ironically, costs $5 less than a jar of their yogurt — a yogurt I was becoming increasingly desperate to try.

I reached out and they kindly agreed to send me three press samples — one of each flavor (original, mango cream and coconut cream). I opened the mango cream first and I’m happy to report there was no volcanic eruption. The consistency was different than most traditional yogurts — kind of runny, like something you’d drizzle instead of scoop. I got a little overzealous with my portion because I hadn’t had breakfast and was pretty hungry, so it was definitely more than the recommended two tablespoons, but I didn’t notice any adverse effects. I mixed it in a cup with some granola.

Even though I swallowed a substantial helping of wellness industry-induced skepticism along with my first bite, the yogurt was quite delicious. Super tangy and definitely a little “bubbly,” but in a good way. It tasted alive, which is such a weird thing to say about something that has the consistency of Vichyssoise, but I’m just here to report the facts.

During subsequent samplings, I ate it one spoonful at a time approximately twice a day, sort of like taking a vitamin. Besides being a healthy way to indulge my taste buds’ very insistent demand for “just a bite of something sweet” after meals, I pretty much immediately noticed the positive effects of the aforementioned 800 billion probiotics on my digestive system. (That’s my delicate way of saying it helped me go to the bathroom, a benefit of probiotics you can learn more about in this article in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, if you’re looking for a fun beach read).

For the digestive benefits alone, I understand the aforementioned distinction between The Coconut Cult and a regular yogurt you might eat as a snack. If eaten one or two tablespoons at a time as a probiotic supplement over the course of three weeks (an open jar’s shelf life), The Coconut Cult is conceivably worth its initially exorbitant-seeming price tag, at least if you compare it to over-the-counter probiotic supplements which can cost around the same and are supposedly less effective. (According to what Simon-Waddell told Well+Good, the process of freeze-drying bacteria into a powder to make it into a pill form causes it to go into hibernation. The Coconut Cult takes those fancy, freeze-dried probiotics and wakes them up in coconut, which makes them ready to start working in your body immediately.)

It’s worth mentioning there’s also a sneaky “hack” for extending the shelf life of a jar of The Coconut Cult if you want to get more bang for your buck. Lee Tilghman of Lee From America explains the whole technique in this lengthy Instagram post:

HOW TO EXTEND THE SHELF LIFE OF @THECOCONUTCULT ✨ coconut cult is one of my favorite coconut yogurts. it’s thick, creamy, tangy, free of added sugar, but it goes for $25/jar 💸 •FYI, you can make your own coconut yogurt without purchasing @thecoconutcult, but if you already have a jar in the fridge, or want to splurge on some and get more bang for your buck, here is a great way to extend its life! you can this trick 2-3 times with one jar to get that coconut cult flavor. thanks for the idea @bleubird! 1. when you are almost finished with your jar of coconut cult, (I left about 2-3 tbsp left), add a can of organic full fat coconut milk to the coconut cult jar. Make sure your coconut milk is not separated, but well combined as to avoid coconut milk chunks in your finished product! 2. Empty 2 probiotic pills into the jar. (I used @cleanprogram) 3. Using a WOODEN spoon, stir well to combine. metal spoons can harm the probiotics. Get all the coconut cult yogurt off the sides and mix it in with your coconut milk. Cover with cheesecloth (or t-shirt) and leave in a warm sunny spot for 2 days. If you have no sun in your home, leave it in the oven with the oven light on for 2 days. After 2 days, put in the fridge and then enjoy in fat bowls, smoothies or on top of toast! #leefromamerica

A post shared by Lee Tilghman (@leefromamerica) on

What do you think? Are tempted to try it, or are you already a card-carrying member of The Coconut Cult?

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  • Adrianna

    I don’t doubt that the price has to be $25 in order for the company to make some profit after production costs. Plenty of people think it’s ridiculous that I spend $6 on a small ice cream cone at Van Leeuwn.

    But Van Leeuwen isn’t selling me health benefits. Pricing yogurt at $25 suggests that only people from a certain income bracket deserve high quality ingredients.

  • Imaiya Ravichandran

    i think… i need more money

  • Jessica

    The description sounds similar to a coconut-based version of kefir. I wonder if they are the same sort of thing (kefir is a lot more affordable and also known for excellent health benefits, similar to what you describe)

    • Cristina

      Kefir is bomb dot com and you are right, sounds like a dairy free “kefir”.

  • Cristina

    I mean.. sounds like the latest company to capitalize on the InstaWellness industry.
    I bet people lay around on their couch with their Buffy eating Coconut Cult.

  • Leandra Medine

    IM SO GLADYOU WROTE THIS I HAVE BEEN RACKING MY BRAIN TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THE BIG DEAL IS WITH FLAMINGOYOGURT every time i go to dean and deluca i inch towards it and then i look at the price and think WUHT and leave

    • Harling Ross

      they should definitely rebrand to “FLAMINGOYOGURT” and you should definitely raid the office fridge becuz we have leftovers !!

  • Kate

    People getting into fermented products is fantastic, but I’m sick to my eyeballs of coconut.

    Unless you’re vegan or dairy free for medical reasons, dairy fermented products (big shout out to the kefir mentioned further down in the comments!) have a much better nutritional profile. Good source of protein and less saturated fat. And if you’re lactose intolerant, the fermentation doesn’t leave much, or any.

    • gracesface

      Yea fermented coconut makes me feel SO ill, which makes sense seeing as coconut is a FODMAP and actually I don’t eat anything fermented anymore for that reason. So not for me, but I definitely second your recommendation if your stomach can tolerate it!

  • Zoe Ramos

    I’m in college so $25 is insaneeeeee to spend on yogurt but my friend and I wanted to try so badly, we split the cost and got it. It’s good!! Definitely not something I would purchase regularly but it’s tasty and healthy and the packaging is cute!

    • Harling Ross

      #FriendsSplittingYogurt is my new favorite lifestyle concept

  • Bee

    I’ve tried it and can only really speak to taste, as a big yogurt person (that sounds awful but you know what I mean)—-it was very tart. You’d definitely have to eat it with berries and honey. And that’s my highly intellectual input.

  • Abby

    Yeah $25 for yogurt is just ridiculous. Minimalist Baker has a recipe for making the exact same thing for like $2 on her site, so if I’m ever tempted to try coconut yogurt I think I’ll just do that.

    • Harling Ross

      will check it out!

    • Nico

      Yes! I’ve done the Minimalist Baker’s recipe for coconut yogurt a few times now and it is SO good!

  • Emily Stark

    So I am a full fat dairy kinda girl. Just a question: do people who purchase alternative milk products such as this or who get alternative milk lattes etc stay away from all dairy?

    And is it a “health” thing or is it an avoidance of negative effects of eating dairy? Because I’m pretty sure yogurt shouldn’t cause any dairy issues that some people experience. I’m just really confused why make coconut milk yogurt.

    • 808kate

      It seems like vegan products, especially coconut-based ones, have a “health halo” these days so I feel like that’s probably the most common reason. They could also have a milk-protein allergy (more common in young kids) or have trouble with even low amounts of lactose. I’m a full fat dairy girl myself too though 😀

      • Bri

        wow “health halo”. i am bringing this phrase into my life. it is good

    • Bmo

      I just think milk is gross so I use almond milk or whatever in my tea. I eat full fat dairy everything else though.

    • Liz

      I stay away from dairy with the exception of pizza about once a month because I just love pizza. I think it’s odd to ingest something that’s meant to nourish baby cows. However, I’m able to see past that while I’m devouring my monthly whole pizza. 😀

      • Kristin

        I’ve always been confused by this argument… as mammals (mammary glands… milk) it makes sense for us to drink milk. Reaching out to another species for additional nourishment is how we survive. Is it more odd than eating honey? (Bees source of nourishment). Is it more odd than killing the cow and eating it’s meat? (For the record I am not vegetarian or vegan.. just confused by this pervasive argument against drinking milk).
        Also, as a lactating mom who currently has to pump to provide nourishment to my child when I am at work I can see the strong appeal of getting the milk from somewhere else… a cow.

    • Amy

      I read that most dairy yoghurts in the supermarket can cause issues because the cultures are not alive! After fermentation, the yoghurt is heated to give them a longer shelf live which kills the cultures. When you take in yoghurt with dead cultures it causes gas in the stomach.

      Ever since I found this out, I have only been buying Bulgarian Yogurt because the cultures in it are alive and haven’t had any issues. As long as you read the label carefully and stay away from claims like “made with active cultures” and instead opt for “living yoghurt cultures” you won’t experience any issues. I don’t understand the coconut yoghurt thing as well so I will stick to full-fat yoghurt because of it is amazing for the gut.

    • I personally don’t like drinking milk because of the taste for whatever reason, but I like drinking almond milk. I use good ol’ regular butter and cheeses though!

    • I order “alternative” milk lattes at most coffee shops purely because a lot of places use very low quality dairy. I do eat/drink dairy at home, though (I’m also a full-fat kind of girl!)

  • gracesface

    Siggis all the way!!! I will never think that $1.75 for a single portion is pricey again.

    • Cristina

      Siggi’s is so bomb. But if you don’t really care about sugar you Trader Joe’s whole milk greek yogurt is SO GOOD. The texture is so airy, I’m obsessed.

      • gracesface

        Good to know! Thank youuuu!

  • Laura

    I think the price tag isn’t about yogurt, its about the probiotic and amount of strands in the product. You’re only supposed to have like a spoonful a day? I wonder how long the jar is supposed to last? I was taking these probiotic Bio K yogurt shot things in the morning and they were kind of expensive too (24 for $30) and had like 25 billion strands or whatever. Didn’t notice a different after trying them for a month and feel like it would be the same for the cult.

  • DelphineGarnier82

    The only way I’d try is someone bought it for me. I don’t pay 25 dollars for only one food product.

  • nicolacash

    You can get cultured coconut yogurt at Trader Joe’s for like $2. I don’t get the hype on this.

    • Harling Ross

      I think the hype has a lot to do with the ingredients in this vs. something like trader joe’s cultured coconut yogurt, which has cane syrup, pectin, carrageenan, etc (at least the one i’ve seen in my local TJs)

  • pamb

    If it was available in a local store, yes, I’d try it. I’m Old School and hate online ordering, so I don’t do it. No Amazon Prime for me, and I survive just fine.

    • Lenny Hodgdon

      I’m with you. i found it locally using the Store locator https://thecoconutcult.com/pages/store-locator

      • pamb

        Thanks for this! Don’t know why it didn’t occur to me, lol. Closest location is 13 miles away! Not sure I’ll make the drive 😉

  • NYFarmer

    It’s not yogurt.

  • Jen

    Sounds suspiciously like coconut kefir to me…

  • Jacquie G

    “including 15 strains of human probiotics”
    Uhhhhm, What!? Flag on the play. What *is* a Human Probiotic? How does one obtain or erm, extract a Human Probiotic? What Human does the Human Probiotic come from? What am I missing here & how was that NOT a question BEFORE you put this stuff in YOUR mouth?

    • I think she meant gut bacteria that naturally occur in the human body (there are different strains of probiotics in different species). I could be wrong though.

  • alorwa

    Don’t care about any health benefit claims, I have tried it, and it’s not worth it. No, unless your diets is so restrictive you can’t eat anything else. If you pied your school loan, bought a house and paid its mortgage, saved up for your kids education, or decided not to have kids (which is better option) and set aside your funeral expenses, I would say go for it, if that would make you believe that you are now a committed member of the healthy lifestyle club.