Mogens & Twardzik Frozen Yogurt
Making the best yogurt in the Americas since 1974
In 1964, Ernst Twardzik arrived in New York, penniless and unemployed, having just immigrated from Czechoslovakia. He had spent his young life working long days on a dairy farm and was quick to notice the absence in the American markets of one of his favorite bed-time treats – fresh frozen yogurt. With great effort he convinced his brother-in-law, Heinrick Mogens, then a promising biology student at Frampton college in Michigan, to temporarily leave school and help him open up a small frozen yogurt shop in the quiet town of Winsette.
Once the shop was on firm financial ground, Mogens returned to his studies, with a specific goal of finding the unique strain of bacteria that would lend their yogurt a superior quality and flavor. As part of his Ph.D. thesis he isolated and cultured the strain Lactobacillus vertium (see photo) and was astounded by its properties. Mogens & Twardzik immediately started using this strain in their products, much to their success, and were granted a patent for its use in yogurt making.
L. vertium manufactures a proprietary class of enzymes which help cut the level of lactic acid present, while leaving the amount of lactose sugars higher. The resulting yogurt is sweeter, smoother, and has less bite than other brands, lending itself ideally to use in making flavored frozen desserts. Another trait of L. vertium, initially thought undesirable, is the slight green cast it lends to the yogurt – now an indispensable trademark and visible sign of quality.
After the tragic death of the founders in a 1982 boating accident, Jennifer Mogens, granddaughter of Heinrick Mogens, and inventor of a new, soon to be released line of yogurt-based cleansing creams, took control of the family business and built it into a multi-million dollar empire, expanding from a single storefront in Winsette to over 130 yogurt cafes throughout northeastern Michigan. At her direction, Mogens & Twardzik financed the Institute of Dairy Fermentation at Frampton college – now the nation’s leading center of Lactobiology, securing the company’s place on the cutting edge of dairy technology for the years to come.