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In December 2012, the New York-based Greek yogurt company began making yogurt at it’s new manufacturing facility in Twin Falls, Idaho.The company announced in 2011 plans to build it’s second U.S. manufacturing plant. Chobani chose Twin Falls. The company has said it plans to hire up to 500 people once the facility starts operating at full capacity.Hamdi Ulukaya founded the Chobani Greek Yogurt company in 2005. According to Chobani’s website, Ulukaya threw himself into the yogurt business after he saw an ad for a recently shuttered Kraft yogurt plant in his local newspaper. He purchased that facility.By 2007, Chobani Greek Yogurt could be found in New York grocery stores. By 2010, it became the number one selling Greek yogurt in the country.

Chobani Picked To Lead Greek Yogurt Pilot Project In Idaho Schools

Chobani, Greek Yogurt
Emilie Ritter Saunders
Boise State Public Radio

New York based Greek yogurt maker Chobani has been chosen to lead a new pilot program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That program will feature the high protein yogurt in school lunches starting this school year.

Idaho, along with Arizona, New York and Tennessee will participate to see how cost effective it will be to offer this yogurt as a meat substitute for school meals.  If the test is successful, Greek yogurt could become a permanent fixture of the school lunch program across the U.S.  

Chobani opened a production plant in Twin Falls last December. It employs more than 600 people. The plant produces nearly 1 million cases of Greek yogurt every week.   

In a news release Friday, Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo said, “Greek yogurt is packed with protein and nutrients essential to a healthy diet. I previously commended USDA’s decision to make this healthy option increasingly available to Idaho’s children.”

Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna was quoted in the release saying “I am proud our state is once again taking the lead and working to provide students with healthier options, including those produced right here in Idaho.”

Crapo will join Luna and officials with Chobani and the Meridian School District for an event on August 13 to announce details of Greek yogurt availability in Idaho schools.

Earlier this month, the USDA announced it was taking bids to supply schools with Greek yogurt in four states including Idaho as part of this pilot program. That process closed July 22.

Copyright 2013 Boise State Public Radio