The Rise of Chobani
In 2005, Hamdi Ulukaya, a Turkish immigrant, took a loan from the Small Business Administration, bought an old yogurt plant in rural New York, and brought a small group of passionate individuals together to make the real, wholesome yogurt that he remembered from his childhood. He called the company Chobani, “shepherd” in Turkish, to endow it with the hard-working and compassionate spirit of the mountain farmer.
Ulukaya devoted himself to the craft, carefully building his team to ensure quality from the ground up. Two years later, in 2007, his dream to make delicious, nutritious, natural, and accessible yogurt finally came to fruition—the very first cup of Chobani® Greek Yogurt hit shelves.
By 2010, Chobani had grown from one man’s dream into America’s favorite Greek yogurt.
The Role of the OU
During the company’s impressive growth phase, the emerging yogurt company partnered with OU—the world’s largest and most widely recognized kosher certification agency—to add its kosher symbols to all products.
Of this partnership, a spokesperson for Chobani says: When reflecting on our brand’s amazing growth, Chobani must express its appreciation to the kosher yogurt certification of the Orthodox Union.
Companies Like Chobani Recognize the Kosher Advantage
“Often labels will sport an ‘O’ with a ‘U’ inside. This is the stamp of approval of the largest kosher-certification body, and basically means there’s no need to read the label….” — Wall Street Journal
Over $150 billion in kosher certified products are consumed annually, and the OU kosher symbol appears on close to 70% of America’s most popular kosher certified foods, from Chobani to Coca-Cola. Why?
Busy shoppers don’t have time to stop and read labels. They will choose the products that have a clear kosher certification. Because of this, a product with a prominent OU symbol is more likely to make it into a shopper’s cart.
OU Provides the Competitive Edge
There is clear evidence that kosher symbols boost market share and win more highly coveted shelf space—a kosher product will outperform a non-Kosher product by 20%.
Chobani knows this—they recognize the kosher logo as an extremely important tool to enhance their products’ marketability. They know that because products with the OU symbol sell faster,
supermarkets favor OU certified products and give them the best shelf space. Ultimately, this generates more sales, and leads to an increase in business.
OU Signifies Quality
Smart brands, like Chobani, know consistency builds brand loyalty. And because the OU carefully reviews all ingredients and production practices before granting its seal, consumers trust the OU seal.
OU certification is a widely recognized symbol of quality by food industry personnel, kosher inspectors, and shoppers. When brands like Chobani work with OU, their products become an easy first choice, particularly for the kosher consumer.
10 Years Later
Now America’s No. 1 Greek yogurt brand, Chobani has multiple product lines—all OU certified—and three full-service cafes across the U.S. The company was also recognized by Fast Company as one of the 10 most innovative companies in the world, and by Fortune as one of 50 companies changing the world.
“At Chobani we’re committed to quality at the highest level, and working with the OU is another assurance that we’re meeting those standards,” says Ulukaya. “We are so proud to work with and be certified by this amazing group, for using its trusted symbol of quality heightens our packaging and overall brand.”