Chobani: Healthy Yogurt-y Deliciousness
All hail the Yogurt King, offering deliciousness since 2005!
Nowadays, the lack of nutritious, non-dairy yogurts encouraged a certain food-maker to tackle the food industry and shake it up a bit.
Thanks to a brand known as Chobani, enjoying a delicious glass of yogurt has never been more pleasurable.
When the idea popped into founder Hamdi Ulukaya’s head, he immediately thought of a motto like “make healthier and quality vegan food more approachable by all people worldwide”. Given the fact that no other food company before 2005 had produced plant-based natural greek yogurts, Chobani made a big boom on the market.
At Chobani, one can find 100% original and unique recipes, not only yogurts, but milk, creamers, and other similar products, too. Those are exactly the types of products Hamdi Ulukaya was going for, and he surely established an original company that prides itself on its products.
Stay with us if you want to find out more about Hamdi Ulukaya’s path to success.
A Not So Easy Childhood
Turkish-born Hamdi comes from a humble background. Born in 1972 as one of seven kids, in a small village called Ilic, Hamdi didn’t have it easy. His Kurdish family was quite modest, and due to having a big family, his parents often struggled with money, and life wasn’t easy for them nor their children.
Hamdi’s parents ran a sheep and goat dairy farm near their home village, manufacturing yogurt and cheese. Hamdi’s affinity for yogurt and other dairy products came from a young age when he passed his days watching his parents work on the farm. He and his father had a special bond, and his father taught him everything he needed to know about what it takes to work on a farm.
When he was just a little kid, Hamdi’s family led a semi-nomadic life. An interesting fact is that Hamdi doesn’t even know his precise birth date, because he was born on one of his family’s joint mountain trips. The somewhat lone, nomadic life didn’t take a toll on him, because he, later on, grew up to be a very communicative person.
Even though he comes from a humble upbringing, Hamdi always had the ambition to achieve something in life, and now, he’s quite happy with what he had accomplished. Not just his parents, but his siblings also considered him as a clever and hard-working kid. He inherited most of those character traits from his father.
The Road to Success
After all the hurdles life had in store for him, Hamdi still managed to get into college due to being an exceptional student. He first attended Ankara University where he studied Political Science. However, he didn’t find his passion there, thus he moved to the U.S. to study English at Adelphi College in 1994.
Finally, he moved to New York, where he enrolled at the University of Albany while getting himself a job on a farm. In these moments, Hamdi’s life would start changing for the better. After sampling the average-quality cheese available there, his father encouraged Hamdi to offer some of the feta cheese they made in Turkey.
The Turkish feta cheese met the likes of many people on the farm, and later on in New York. Hamdi took this as a sign to start something on his own. His first more significant and serious job was when he established his own wholesale feta cheese facility called the Euphrates, back in 2002.
The Euphrates facility bore its name after the Euphrates River near which Hamdi grew up. The venture was moderately profitable, although it had only just broken even after two years. Those were the two most difficult years in his life, as he himself later stated.
Apart from this working experience, Hamdi doesn’t have any other significant ones. However, because of his commitment to things and being a hard worker of ambitious nature, Hamdi decided to start something bigger, and little did he know that he would have a hit in his hands.
Stirring the Dairy World
The official launch of Chobani was in 2007, and that’s when the food company had its big breakthrough. Chobani became the number-one-selling Greek yogurt brand in the United States, no more than five years after its establishment. With that, Chobani developed into a billion-dollar company, raising its first $1B.
In 2005, after reading an email advertising an old factory for sale, Hamdi decided to buy it and expand his yogurt business. Initially, the company was named Agro Farma, but he came up with the idea to name it Chobani, as a variation of the word çoban, which is Turkish for shepherd.
He sought to produce a yogurt that was different from what was available in the United States thusfar. Hamdi couldn’t help but favor the yogurt he had grown up with in Turkey. In order to produce the perfect healthy yogurt, he invited Mustafa Dogan, a Turkish yogurt guru, with whom he spent nearly two years inventing his own yogurt formula.
The main goal of Chobani is to bring about universal wellbeing sooner rather than later. Chobani’s whole team is completely and passionately dedicated to actively participating in the transformation of the food system for the benefit of all people and communities.
Chobani specializes in developing 100% unique, non-dairy and plant-based products along with other recipes such as healthy pancakes, muffins, and cakes. Chobani also offers hundreds of traditional Greek yogurts, milk, creamers, probiotic drinks, and its brand-new healthy coffee.
Over the next years, Chobani progressed more than ever, with the launch of the second factory in Idaho, the purchase of a firm in Australia, and also establishing its first cafe in New York. The distribution was also expanded into parts of Asia and South America.
Since this food company wants to make high-quality and nutritious yogurts available to as many people around the world, people can search for nearby stores and request Chobani’s products. While a great number of non-dairy products are full of unnatural chemicals, Hamdi’s plant-based products provide something unexpected and way better, something that even vegan customers like.
As of 2014, the firm raised around $750M in funding over one round from their lead investor TPG. Hopefully, more and more investors and partners will participate in the funding of the firm, in the near future.
In recent days, Chobani has become US’ number one traditional Greek yogurt producer, and a billion-dollar company. Hamdi and his team are constantly working on developing and inventing new and unique products.
Today, Chobani’s headquarters are located in New York, employing more than 2000 employees across the U.S., all working towards expanding the clientele looking for a taste of famed yogurt.
However, before Hamdi became U.S’ favorite “Yogurt King”, he and his company had to withstand the competition coming from companies like Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt, Maia Yogurt, and Oatly, among others.
The objective has always been to expand beyond yogurt in order to adapt to the changing customer behavior. As mentioned, Chobani has just expanded its innovation and brand into five new categories: yogurt, non-dairy oat milk, creamers, plant-based probiotic beverages, and healthy coffee. The company aims to eliminate all sugar from its products, enabling its customers to enjoy their coffee, oat milk, and other probiotic beverages, guilt-free.
On 17 November 2021, the business filed for an IPO on a secret basis, and there are some speculations that its valuation might even approach $10 billion. Chobani reported a 5.2% increase in revenue from 2019 to 2020, totaling $1.4 billion.
However, its net loss increased profusely over that time period, hitting $58.7 million as a result of hefty expenditures in its operations. The exact IPO date is still unknown, that’s on Chobani to announce. But, the company intends to list on the Nasdaq under the mark CHO.
Continuing to produce healthy goodness, we’re absolutely sure that Chobani will surprise us with more delicious goodies, any time now.