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Frozen yogurt is the new ice cream

In my job as a fashion college recruiter, it is imperative that I keep up to date on all the latest trends. As a result, I am always on the lookout for the newest clothing fad or accessory. Trends are a funny thing, because there is no exact science as to why a style or color becomes all the rage one season and then is simply erased from our wardrobes as if diseased the next season.

Have you noticed that trends don't just apply to our clothes, but to every aspect of our lives? Trends fuel our very existence, not to mention the economy. If new things weren't constantly being introduced into our lives, we would just be content to wear bell bottoms, drive gas guzzling wood paneled station wagons and prepare delightful TV dinners in our lime green kitchens. There is no limit to the items influenced by popular culture; clothes, cars, hairstyles, technology, home décor, appliances - and even our food is dictated by trends.

Popular brands of food and drinks are carried around as though they are the latest fashion accessory. We are inundated with images in magazines of celebrities strolling through the streets while holding that popular brand of bottled water infused with vitamins and minerals, or sipping their mocha caramel low fat cappuccino through the telltale green straw. Yes, even our coffee has become a must have accessory, can you imagine being caught dead drinking the off brand? As if!

I have to admit, I am guilty of jumping on the food trend bandwagon. Last year, while in Los Angeles for a month, I became completely addicted to Pinkberry, which is a very trendy fabulous frozen yogurt chain. I ate it almost every day, reveling in my obvious brilliance at having replaced lunch with dessert. I strolled the swanky streets of Beverly Hills, proudly displaying my cute pink and white yogurt cup like a new handbag. I was on trend, eating the most popular snack (just like everyone else in L.A.). I behaved like an absolute prima donna upon returning to Hampstead, as I was now being denied my new favorite treat.

The food industry must love the idea of a society dictated by the ever changing fads in our society. Each decade has introduced a new must have food item; some of them have stayed popular, while others have faded into oblivion. Remember when Krispy Kreme donuts were the "it" doughnut to eat, and the franchise over expanded only to see the trend vanish? It's hard to keep up, you don't want to be caught with just vitamin water anymore, now you need to drink coconut water (trust me; I am an expert on these things). So many food trends are popular right now: gluten free, Greek yogurt, anything organic or locally grown, fish tacos, super fruits and my favorite - frozen yogurt. On the way out: cupcakes, hummus, and protein water. Don't even get caught dead with sundried tomatoes - they are so five years ago.

Like so many other food trends, frozen yogurt is having a moment. It was very popular in the 1990s, and then faded into obscurity like high waisted jeans. Our nation's latest health craze created the perfect opportunity for fro-yo to reinvent itself the same way Madonna keeps doing. I blame Jamie Lee Curtis and her Activia propaganda, now everyone is convinced that we actually need yogurt in order to be healthy. If regular yogurt is good, then frozen is even better, right? We now have low fat, no fat, sugar free, countless flavors and endless toppings for our "healthy" frozen yogurt. Trends tend to migrate from coast to coast, and finally this trend has made its way to our area, (it took long enough). There are 15 frozen yogurt shops that have popped up in the Baltimore Metro area recently, and several that are opening soon. FYI, the closest to us is in Hanover, Pa.

Oddly enough, I keep finding reasons to drive to Hanover lately. Thankfully, my new addiction is much cheaper to keep up with than my purse obsession- so it's win/win for everyone. I don't kid myself that it's actually healthy, though.

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