Yogurt is an ancient food, used by peoples in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East across the millennia. Yogurt first appeared during the Neolithic period, around 5,000–10,000 years ago, probably as a result of milk naturally souring in warm temperatures (thank you warm temperatures and souring milk). Evidence from ancient pottery shows that Neolithic people were using the pots to store milk.
As a fermented food, yogurt was a great way to preserve milk, since the acidity slows the growth of harmful bacteria. Yogurt was a well-known food in the Greek and Roman empires and has played a major role in Mediterranean cuisine since 800 BC.
Yogurt making began in the United States in 1929 when Rose and Sarkis Colombosian, Armenian immigrants who lived in Andover, Massachusetts, started Colombo and Sons Creamery. General Mills purchased the company in 1993 and incorporated the yogurt division as Yoplait Colombo, based in Methuen. Based on traditional Armenian cooking methods, it was the first commercially produced yogurt in the U.S. The business grew in the 1960s due to the increased awareness of the many health benefits of yogurt. In 1993, Colombo Yogurt was purchased by General Mills. On January 29, 2010, General Mills announced that it was dropping the Colombo brand to focus more on its Yoplait yogurt. It ended shipments on February 12, 2010. General Mills still produces soft-serve frozen yogurt under the Colombo name.
Yogurt Lemon Cake