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Pinkberry vs. Simply Peeled: How a new frozen dessert measures up


How does New York City's reigning frozen-dessert champ fare against a promising newcomer called Fruizo with with a strong one-two punch? (It's healthy and it tastes good.) We tell you here.

Meet Fruizo, the newest frozen dessert to enter the crowded New York City scene. Simply Peeled, the store that makes Fruizo, forgoes the fro-yo route for a totally different take on what you’d get at Pinkberry, Red Mango, or Tasti D-lite. Fruizo is a dairy-free blend of three ingredients—fruit, water, and organic cane sugar—and that’s it.

Lauren Browne, a former model who’s one of Simply Peeled’s four owners, said that they felt there was a void in the frozen dessert world when it came to healthy, vegan, and gluten-free options. “We realized that there was no healthy one that we all felt comfortable eating,” she says.

In NYC, the reigning frozen dessert champ is Pinkberry, of course. So how will the promising newcomer Fruizo fare with its one-two punch—it’s healthy and it tastes good? We pitted this new frozen fruit puree against the crowd-pleasing Pinkberry to find out.

PRODUCT SELECTION

Pinkberry: Lots of flavors, including original, pomegranate, coconut, passionfruit, chocolate, green tea, mango, and a special seasonal flavor—watermelon. The smoothie selection is small. The fruit parfait is frankly unoriginal.

Simply Peeled: Fewer flavors than Pinkberry—currently only banana, mango and strawberry (apple’s coming this fall). They have a delectable-looking selection of Blends, or non-dairy smoothies (think DQ Blizzard with fruit), and pre-made Favorites for those who don’t feel like getting creative with toppings.

Pinkberry yogurt watermelon
Pinkberry's summer watermelon yogurt

TASTE TEST

Pinkberry: More tart than sweet. And while I’m definitely a fan (especially when paired with sweet toppings), some people are turned off by the tanginess. Much creamier than Fruizo and more reminiscent of a rich frozen yogurt.

Simply Peeled: Fruizo’s consistency lies somewhere between a fruit sorbet and frozen yogurt. It’s soft, but not creamy, and it has a natural, light, delicious taste. I tried all three flavors and each tasted exactly like fresh, perfectly ripe fruit.

Pinkberry stores riff contemporary design stalwarts with faux ghost chairs and Saarinen-esque cafe tables
Pinkberry stores riff modern designers with faux ghost chairs and Saarinen-esque cafe tables

NUTRITION

Pinkberry: 30 calories per ounce for the mango. The ingredients are decidedly less natural than Fruizo’s (per the company’s nutrition facts), and include unnecessary, unpronounceable additives (e.g. maltodextrin, mono- and diglycerides, lactoglycerides, propylene glycol esters, and more). The dairy makes it a no-no for vegans or the lactose-challenged.

Simply Peeled: 21 calories per ounce for the mango. There are only three ingredients in it: water, fruit, and organic cane sugar. This is great news for vegans, people with allergies, lactose-intolerance, or gluten-sensitivity. Although the full nutrition facts are not yet available, Browne assured me that they use just enough sugar to get it to consistency. We’ll have to wait and see how much sugar that is. All flavors are under 100 calories in the 4 oz. size (without toppings).

PRICE

Pinkberry: $3.15-$7.25 depending on the size and flavor. It’s $1.35 for two toppings. The fruit parfait is $3.95, and the smoothie costs $5.25.

Simply Peeled: $3.00-$5.25 depending on the size. It costs $.75 for fruit and $.50 for all other toppings. The blends (which are 16 oz.) are very pricey at $8 each.

VIBE

Pinkberry: A generally cheerful staff that patiently allows you to taste multiple flavors. Mod-chic design with pebbled floors.

Simply Peeled: Adorable, homey, and non-commercial. Enthusiastic staff. Designed to delight children. Did we mention the scratch-and-sniff banana wallpaper?

Simply Peeled's first location is on the Upper East Side

BOTTOM LINE

Pinkberry: Although I may miss the tangy yogurt taste, I’d be willing to give it up for something more pure and equally delicious.  Of course, Pinkberry definitely wins on accessibility. For now.

Simply Peeled: Although I anxiously await the official nutrition facts, I hope it’s not too good to be true: low-calorie, all-natural, and absolutely scrumptious. “We absolutely cannot wait to open more locations,” said Browne. I hope it’s sooner rather than later.

Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt, Fifteen locations around New York City, www.pinkberry.com

Simply Peeled, 1371 Third Ave., at 78th Street, Upper East Side, www.simplypeeled.com

Lisa Elaine Held