Chobani is a Greek yogurt brand that was started by a US-based Turk seven years ago and has risen to become the top-selling yogurt brand in the US.
It goes on sale in 250 Tesco stores this week.
If sales are as strong as they have been in the US, the brand’s founder and ceo, Hamdi Ulukaya, planned to start a yogurt manufacturing venture in Britain that could create up to 300 jobs. There are also plans to open a Greek yogurt shop in London.
Ulukaya said the UK Greek yogurt category “lacked excitement” and quality. He claimed his product could raise consumption in the UK.
Poor quality yogurt
He was also surprised by the poor quality of the yogurt for sale on the US market when he first arrived in New York.
Then he saw an advert for a yogurt factory for sale, which was the former Kraft Foods plant in Columbus, New York State. He decided to follow his “gut feeling” to buy it that day.
It took him five months to secure the funds. Then he recruited five former Kraft employees and spent 18 months researching the Greek yogurt market before launching his business in 2007.
He used social media such as Facebook and Twitter to grow sales by having direct communication with consumers. When his brand reached the supermarkets sales rocketed.
In 2009 Chobani was selling 200 cases of yogurt per week. Today it’s selling 1.5M.
It is the top-selling yogurt brand in the US, with about 10% market share in the overall non-frozen yogurt industry, and 50% share of Greek yogurt brands.
His company is now the third largest manufacturer of non-frozen yogurt in the US, behind Yoplait and Danonn, which is owned by Danone.
Three years ago Greek yogurt made up 3% of the US yogurt market but now it makes up 28% of the category, according to research organisation UBS.
Much of this growth has been attributed to the success of the Chobani brand.
UBS forecasts that the category will increase by 40% over the next year. Sales are predicted to rise by 120% over the next five years.