Did Chobani launch the Greek yogurt boom or did it capitalize on a product whose demand was already on the upswing?
Chobani spokeswoman Lindsay Kos says it was the company that sparked the Greek yogurt revolution in America.
"Greek yogurt was available in America for over a decade before Chobani hit shelves, but it was confined to higher-priced, gourmet stores," Kos says. "Chobani launched in 2007 with the goal to make great-tasting Greek yogurt available to consumers everywhere and sought to get into major retailers so that everyone, from Walmart to Kroger to Safeway or Whole Foods, could enjoy authentic strained Greek yogurt."
Today, Chobani produces its Greek yogurt products at two U.S. locations. Its first plant, in New Berlin, N.Y., ships more than 2 million cases of product per week. It’s the largest dairy manufacturer in New York State. Chobani is also the state’s biggest consumer of Class II milk. It takes in some 4 million pounds of milk per day from 850 dairies in New York and neighboring areas. The plant needs the milk of 60,000 cows producing 65 pounds or more per day.
Chobani’s second and newest plant opened in December 2012 in Twin Falls, Idaho. Built in 326 days following a $450 million investment, the plant spans 1 million square feet. It uses 1.5 million pounds of milk per day, an amount that’s growing as the plant ramps up production. There are more than 600 employees at the plant, but its construction has led to almost 1,000 induced and indirect jobs, Kos says.
"It's no surprise that Americans have a palate for Greek yogurt, just as other countries have enjoyed for centuries," she adds. "Greek yogurt not only tastes great but is good for you."
It’s good for Chobani too. The company generated approximately $1 billion in sales for 2012. "All signs point toward an increase for 2013," Kos says.
-- From the June-July 2013 issue of Dairy Today