Yogurt company with local roots continues to grow in U.S.

Yogurt company with local roots continues to grow in U.S.


by ANN SHERIDAN / NBC Charlotte Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @SheridanWCNC


Posted on January 8, 2013 at 8:02 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 8 at 8:21 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- This is not your mother's yogurt.

"The way you can use Chobani  is endless, in ways we haven't even discovered yet,” said Chobani’s Vice President Kyle O’Brien.

“If there were 100 stores in America, we're in 98 of them,” he said.

O’Brien, who went to high school in Fort Mill, helped create the yogurt dynasty after meeting Chobani’s President and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya.

"We always wanted a category to look at us as Chobani, not necessarily Chobani Greek Yogurt, but Chobani.  We’re there now.  It’s Chobani.”

In only five years Chobani has become the leading yogurt brand in the United States. 

It is in grocery stores everywhere, and even has its own fan base of loyal customers who have created  songs and videos posted to the company’s website.

“This is our new item, Chobani Flip,” said O’Brien, as he showed NBC Charlotte reporter Ann Sheridan the newest product that will hit store shelves this week in the Charlotte area.

There's Chobani that can replace a meal and Chobani that can replace a snack.  Soon, there will be Chobani for Champions in a tube, the kind of snack that kids pack in their lunchboxes. 

And the global sales office is right in uptown Charlotte is now staffed with chefs from CIA and Johnson and Wales University.

“We knew we could recruit the best and brightest based on the universities within two hours away,” he said.

“You’ll see…items made with Chobani popping up everywhere,” said O’Brien.

Chobani's rise has been swift. 

In only five years the company has been named one of the 50 most innovative companies in the U.S., with reported sales of over 700 million dollars in 2011. 

In addition, Chobani is now the top selling yogurt brand, beating competitors Dannon and Yoplait.  In addition, Chobani was a sponsor of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

O'Brien credits the success of Chobani to it's founder Ulukaya's vision of putting good, affordable yogurt in front of consumers.  His plan has worked. 

Chobani is looking to expand in other ways as well.  It already has a yogurt bar in New York City's Soho neighborhood, with more plans to expand the concept.