Stonyfield representative Sarah Badger credits Greek yogurt's success with consumers to its health benefits, tart taste, thickness and versatility in cooking.
Authentic Greek yogurt contains twice the protein of regular yogurt because when the excess milk is strained out, solid whey protein remains.
"If you're looking for a good source of protein, Greek yogurt wins out over regular yogurt," said Dr. Christopher Bernabei of Philadelphia's Balance Health Center & Yoga Spa.
Greek yogurt also wins out over regular yogurt when it comes to probiotics. These are live bacteria cultures that improve digestion and boost immunity. All yogurts contain at least two strains of probiotics, but Greek yogurts can contain five or six strains, each with different properties.
"The art of making Greek yogurt is adding the probiotic cultures," said Chobani's Briggs.
Some probiotics can help convert lactose into lactic acid, making the product easier to digest for those with lactose intolerance. Less lactose correlates with less sugar.
In Greece, where yogurt is called yiaourti, its health benefits are legendary.
"It's old folklore that [in Greece] they use it for sunburns," said Stephen Nothangel, of Philadelphia's Estia Restaurant.
Tom Vasiliades, owner of South Street Souvlaki, said that in Greece yiaourti is "as popular as Coke." It is also considerably healthier.
At his restaurant, Vasiliades makes eight gallons of Greek yogurt every night.
"I don't buy it because I make the best," he said.
South Street Souvlaki and Estia Restaurant serve Greek yogurt in traditional Tzatziki dipping sauce, on its own or mixed with fruit, as a complement to savory dishes.
"When it comes down to it, a product succeeds or does not succeed based on taste," Briggs said. "It's not every day you find something you want to eat that is actually good for you."