There are not many meteoric success stories in today’s cutthroat food industry, but one company that came out of nowhere and has grown exponentially for the last 7 years is Chobani. The company pretty much created the Greek Yogurt category in the US, and is now selling a billion dollars worth of strained yogurt every year. The rags-to-riches story of its founder is something etched in the ethos of America. And from our perspective, yogurt is a super food, so we are rooting for more companies like Chobani to succeed.
But in the last few months, several developments have given some observers cause to pause:
1. A report on the negative environmental impact of acid whey, the byproduct of Greek yogurts. This is the liquid strained in order to create the characteristic thick and creamy texture.
2. Recent recalls of some Chobani products due to mold growth on the inside of some yogurts. In fact, a lawsuit is being filed against the company alleging negligence in handling the problem once it was discovered.
Is this the price of growing too big, too fast? Is this the fate of any company once it reaches a certain size? We sure hope Chobani can figure out how to continue its growth while maintaining the ethics and practices of a small player.