21 Choices offers green tastes
Posted Feb. 15, 2008
Troy Doolittle
Glendora resident Brian Casey samples one of the specials of the day from Geoff Pino, 21 Choices server. Passing numerous frozen yogurt shops on his way, Casey drives all the way to Claremont because he “can’t get enough” of 21 Choices.

Jamie Ondatje
Staff Writer

Who knew that a visit to your local frozen yogurt store could help save the environment?

Not only is 21 Choices Frozen Yogurt in Claremont well-loved for its fresh organic ingredients, but now also making an effort to become environmentally friendly with biodegradable paper goods and eventually, energy efficient buildings.

“I feel like their products are safer for the environment and I feel like they’re just trying to help,” customer Stephanie Sasloff of Walnut said.

The cups, spoons, straws and napkins in the store are made from 100 percent sugarcane fiber, which is left over after the sweet juice is extracted. After the juice is removed, the sugarcane pulp would normally be useless and would be burned.

By recycling the pulp into usable products, 21 Choices not only saves more scarce resources such as plastic and paper, but it also spares the environment from the pollution caused by the normal burning of sugarcane pulp.

“It’s a great idea and it’s good for the environment,” Melissa Lawson, a senior supervisor said.

“This is a small step, but everything counts.”

But the business’ “green” practices are not the only reason customers keep coming back for more.

“We try and get to know our customers,” Lawson said. “I can pick people out in the crowd and I know their names.”

Along with friendly customer service, the company focuses on serving the freshest ingredients possible.

Every day the menu offers a variety of organic nuts and fruits to serve as toppings on their unique flavors of yogurt, which are different each day.

“Their flavor over anybody else’s is just amazing,” Rancho Cucamonga resident Christine Antinora said. “It’s just not the same anywhere else.”
However, offering fresh ingredients does come with a cost. The prices at 21 Choices are slightly higher than most frozen yogurt stores, with the smallest size starting at $2.50 and toppings being priced at 95 cents each.

Regardless the price, most customers are willing to pay a little extra for the added flavor and quality.

“I feel like I can enjoy it more knowing it’s better for me,” Sasloff said. “I feel like the yogurt is lighter than normal.”

Lawson agreed that the organic ingredients make a difference to the customers as well.

“Not only do our products help the environment, but it also helps people’s diets because it’s organic; it’s healthier,” Lawson said.

Although most customers are focused on the flavor of the yogurt rather than the biodegradable cups and spoons that accompany it, changes that have taken effect in these products over the last five years have produced somewhat of a challenge for the company.

Erin Moya, a Creative director at 21 Choices, said it has been difficult to find a supplier for the biodegradable products because it is not a common procedure for most businesses.

Another challenge goal the company has faced is to become certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System (LEED).

Becoming LEED certified involves the installation of several energy-saving appliances and equipment into the stores, which is a very expensive and time-consuming process.

“We will be one of the first commercial buildings to become LEED certified,” Moya said. “It’s expensive and we’ve never done it before.”

21 Choices will soon open another store in Claremont in addition to the existing stores in Claremont and Pasadena.

The new location will be the first LEED certified 21 Choices store and will make them more environmentally friendly.

21 Choices is located in Claremont 817 W. Foothill Blvd. 21 Choices can be reached at (909) 621-7175.

Jamie Ondatje can be reached at jondatje@ulv.edu

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