A 100-Year Review: Yogurt and other cultured dairy products

J Dairy Sci. 2017 Dec;100(12):9987-10013. doi: 10.3168/jds.2017-12981.


The history of the last 100 years of the science and technology of yogurt, sour cream, cultured butter, cultured buttermilk, kefir, and acidophilus milk has been one of continuous development and improvement. Yogurt leads the cultured dairy product category in terms of volume of production in the United States and recent research activity. Legal definitions of yogurt, sour cream and acidified sour cream, and cultured milk, including cultured buttermilk, are presented in the United States Code of Federal Regulations and summarized here. A tremendous amount of research has been done on traditional and novel ingredients, starter cultures and probiotics, mix processing, packaging, chemical aspects, physical and sensory properties, microstructure, specialized products, composition, quality and safety of yogurt and various manufacturing methods, addition of flavorings, viscosity measurements, and probiotic use for sour cream. Over time, there have arisen alternative manufacturing methods, flavor problems, addition of flavorings, and use of probiotics for cultured buttermilk. Many health benefits are provided by yogurt and other cultured dairy products. One hundred years of testing and development have led to wider uses of cultured dairy products and new processing methods for enhanced shelf life and safety. Future research directions will likely include investigating the effects of probiotic dairy products on gut microbiota and overall health.

Keywords: 100-year review; cultured dairy products; food safety; starter culture and probiotic; yogurt.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cultured Milk Products / analysis
  • Cultured Milk Products / history
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Legislation, Food / history*
  • United States
  • Yogurt / analysis
  • Yogurt / history*