Chobani is an American brand of strained yogurt produced by Chobani, LLC. The company was founded in 2005 when Hamdi Ulukaya bought a plant in the town of New Berlin, New York, that was being closed by Kraft Foods. Ulukaya hired several of the former Kraft employees as well as a "yogurt master" and launched his brand in 2007.
The word chobani is derived from the Persian loanword in Turkish, çoban, meaning "shepherd".
Chobani has approximately 2,000 employees and is the top-selling brand of yogurt in the United States.
In 2012, Chobani became an official sponsor of the US Olympic Team and premiered their first national commercial during the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony.
On December 17, 2012 Chobani opened one of the world’s largest yogurt-processing plants in Twin Falls, Idaho. The one million square-foot facility cost $450 million and employs 300 people. Mr. Ulukaya said, “The state expects the total economic impact of our business there to be $1.3 billion.” The plant won the 2013 DBIA Design-Build Project of the Year award and the 2013 Food Plant of the Year award from Food Engineeringmagazine.
On September 3, 2013, Chobani pulled some of its Greek-style yogurt from supermarket shelves after hearing of "swelling or bloating" in cups. The company said it has investigated and found a type of mold commonly found in dairy that may be to blame. Chobani announced a voluntary recall on September 5, in cooperation with the FDA. On September 9, 2013, the FDA reported at least 89 people have reported getting sick after eating the yogurt.
Despite maturing market sales, the largest seller of Greek yogurt has looked out for its bottom line by launching new products and iterations. It is preparing to launch a new line of flavors at the start of 2016, all aimed at getting people to eat more yogurt throughout the day.
In April, 2016, Chobani announced it was giving 10 percent of its ownership stake to its employees. Considering there are 2000 employees, this would be on average $150,000 per employee. Some employees will be becoming instant millionaires as a result of this action, because share awards were based on tenure at the company.