You would be hard-pressed to find Vietnamese yogurt in most grocery stores, but Fred Chen and Phuong Nguyen are about to change that after their start-up YaÜ surpassed their Kickstarter goal of $10,000.
Chen and Nguyen were in search of a dairy product that their picky baby girl Madeline would like, so the couple learned how to make Vietnamese yogurt, or da ua, which Nguyen’s father had fed him while growing up.
“Vietnamese yogurt is famously made with sweetened condensed milk,” Chen told NBC News. “In Vietnam, just about every family makes their own. Because our yogurt was originally made for our daughter, we made it with just three high quality ingredients — slow cooking organic whole milk, cane sugar, and then adding yogurt cultures.”
Yogurt was first introduced to Vietnam, where fresh milk wasn’t readily available, by the French about a century ago, according to the YaÜ Kickstarter page.
The Vietnamese people started adding sweetened condensed milk to their yogurt for flavor, which went over well with their daughter and family and friends who took a sample, Chen said.
The Virginia Tech MBA graduate first tested the yogurt in a class project against commercially-available products and discovered his classmates enjoyed the Vietnamese yogurt more than the other items.
“Vietnamese yogurt is cool, because it is not just a breakfast food, but rather, can be a delicious and nutritious snack or dessert,” explained Chen.
While YaÜ production has expanded from the family’s kitchen to an organic dairy farm in New York, Chen and Nguyen continue to deliver products using their minivan and refrigerated trailer.
After the Kickstarter campaign, which ends March 12, raised $46,243, the couple also contacted grocery stores in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.
Each 4-ounce serving of YaÜ contains 100 calories, 4 grams of protein and 6 grams of added sugar.
Chen and Nguyen plan to release three other flavors, including mango coconut, blueberry lavender, and lemon ginger, if the fundraising can reach a goal of $50,000.
“We believe when things are done the right way, the ingredient list is short, and the process is long,” Chen told NBC.